Joe Biden, Pope Francis meet, talk cancer care

(RNS) When Vice President Joe Biden is honored at commencement exercises next month at the University of Notre Dame, he will arrive amid sharp criticisms over his appearance. Even the local bishop in Indiana said the icon of Catholic higher education in the U.S. is “wrong” to give a platform to a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights and gay marriage. But it may be a sign of the shifting dynamics in the Catholic Church that Biden was welcomed on Friday (April 29) to the Vatican to address a church-sponsored conference on cutting-edge therapies to treat diseases such as cancer, and he was warmly greeted by the local bishop of Rome, aka Pope Francis. Biden in turn praised the pontiff, and noted that Francis met with him and his family during the pope’s visit to the U.S. last September and “provided us with more comfort than even he I think will ever understand” after the death of Biden’s eldest son, Beau, who succumbed to brain cancer nearly a year ago.

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