Joe Biden’s trip to Vatican City this week has been overshadowed by being delayed so that the president could stage a photo op with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday regarding his attempt to save his “Build Back Better” spending spree before next year’s midterm elections.
However, one White House correspondent did manage to rustle the feathers of Press Secretary Jen Psaki in advance of the trip.
During Wednesday’s press briefing, Owen Jensen of Catholic network EWTN asked Psaki if Biden, exceptionally pro-choice while professing his Catholic faith, planned to discuss abortion with the pope on Friday.
Jen Psaki refuses to answer whether or not Joe Biden agrees with the Pope that abortion "is truly murder." pic.twitter.com/Smgm6XPBLE
— MRCTV (@mrctv) October 27, 2021
Jensen said that the administration has said that it is interested in “respect for fundamental human dignity” and asked if that included the “human dignity of the unborn.” When Psaki complained that Jensen asked her “every time about abortion,” he asked if there was a problem with his question.
Psaki then immediately ignored the question entirely by pivoting to her standard talking points. She said there was a “great deal of agreement” between Biden and Pope Francis on a “range of issues.” Psaki then listed poverty, climate, and COVID-19.
She added that Biden’s position is familiar and that he “stands up for” a woman’s right to choose, while the pope has “spoken differently.” Jensen observed that the pope has described abortion as murder and “hiring a hitman” before asking if the president agreed or disagreed. Psaki dismissed the follow-up, saying that the administration has “spoken about it many times.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in June to draft a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in response to objections by several American bishops to allowing Biden and other abortion advocates to receive Communion.
After that vote, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington said that it would not deny the Eucharist to “persons presenting themselves to receive it.” That church is the one that Biden sometimes attends.
A poll conducted this summer by CatholicVote indicated that almost three out of four Catholics who attend church believe that government officials who oppose the teaching of the Church like Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi should not receive Communion.
Catholic politicians who support abortion were hypocritical, and 83 percent of respondents said they create “confusion and disunity” among the faithful.