Robert Royal on the Biden – Francis meeting

Robert Royal has a terrific column at The Catholic Thing about the meeting of Biden with Francis.  He summarized the thoughts of many.



The Vatican press office has not denied Biden’s account and has only said that it was a private conversation. And that it doesn’t comment on private conversations.

This already is close to an outright lie


The press office is noticeably maladroit in handling controversies like this one. During the Amazon Synod, for instance, press officials were repeatedly asked to clarify what the Pachamama was doing there. All they did was mumble that symbols have different uses in different cultures.


There’s some evidence that Biden is lying. He claims that abortion was not discussed.


The biggest problem in all of this is that Francis even met with Biden at this precise moment. It not only undercut our American bishops – by a pope who otherwise has been seeking to devolve power away from Rome and talks incessantly now about “walking together” – i.e. synodality.


And there’s this…

The editor of any publication these days knows in advance that anything you publish will result in a flurry of emotional reactions in the Inbox. Readers accuse you and all of your writers – who were chosen to present a variety of perspectives, some not your own – of all believing the same outrageously wrong thing. Or maybe the opposite wrong thing. The reactions are not always based on a close reading of the original text.

You said it, friend.

The artwork he chose for the column is spot on.

Check it out.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mark says:

    So, abortion wasn’t discussed but the Pope said he’s a good Catholic and should continue to receive communion. Why in the world would the Pope say that if they didn’t discuss abortion and there wasn’t some doubt about whether or not he should continue to receive communion? Or perhaps, in my mind more likely, the Pope has no idea what’s going on in the world and he really should either get up to speed or stay in his lane (which should be the lane where people worry about savings eternal souls more than worldly affairs).

  2. On my end, the picture in the article wasn’t the most high-definition… but, does anyone see anything other than a demon slipping something presumably poisonous into a monk’s porridge?

  3. michele421 says:

    The article makes some interesting points. But it does seem a little strange that Conservatives should worry about President Biden lying when their hero has perhaps the most casual relationship with the truth of any U.S. president in history.

  4. Andreas says:

    Professor Royal notes that, “The Vatican press office has not denied Biden’s account and has only said that it was a private conversation. And that it doesn’t comment on private conversations”. “Qui tacet consentit” comes to mind.

  5. JPManning says:

    I’m not sure who should have been using the longer spoon at that particular supper.

  6. monstrance says:

    Last time I checked, Trump isn’t Catholic.
    Which is ironic, since he was the most pro-life President to ever hold the office.
    We as Catholics, should pay particular attention to the words and actions of a “Catholic President”.
    Especially our Bishops.

  7. summorumpontificum777 says:

    Re: the comment of Liturgical Legos above. As noted at the bottom of Royal’s piece, the wood carving depicts a late-medieval aphorism, “He who sups with the devil should have a long spoon.”

  8. Kerry says:

    michele421. Orde Wingate, of the Chindits and fighting in Burma wrote, in a letter, “If the failures of others are to be used to excuse our own faults, there is no hope for virtue”.
    Or to smear others…

  9. Imrahil says:

    Interesting article.

    However, as the doctors say, if you hear hoofs on the street it is probably a horse not a zebra. In this spirit: President Biden is not lying; that is, there is no reason to assume he is. And the evidence for that is abortion was not discussed? But it is entirely plausible that the Pope wouldn’t discuss abortion with him. Not because he’s secretly pro-abortion; the Pope is quite sincerely anti-abortion (which is good) and probably, in theory, even in favor of banning abortion (which is a different thing, and also good).

    But is the Pope a man who would bring that up in conversation, with the virtually only reason to be able to say afterwards “but I’ve said something”, when he (we have to give him that) has no hope of actually converting his opponent by such a mentioning (to bans; President Biden is, I believe sincerely, at least not one of those who actually think abortions are good things)? Our politicians, at least in Europe, regularly “rattle off”, as it were, a mention of human-rights-issues when discussing economy with China; is it likely that the Pope would do that with abortion and Biden, even if he does (which he does, vividly) oppose abortion?

    Oh, but President Biden is still wrong (something distinct from lying) when he says abortion was not discussed. What he means is that the word “abortion” (and “the unborn”, etc.) were not uttered, and in this I do not think he was lying. But the very not-mentioning means it was, subcurrently, discussed; and what is more, his own statement that the Pope said he was a good Catholic and should continue to receive Communion means that it was rather thoroughly discussed. (Why else would the Pope clarify that?)

  10. pscruz says:

    Trump my “hero”? I voted against him in the 2016 primary because I assumed he would be a social liberal and he waved a sodomy pride flag.
    Of course I voted for him against a pro-legal murder woman who received a lot of Catholic (using that term loosely here) support.
    I praise God for the pro-life efforts of this “hero” while he was in office.
    Catholics who support a party with such a vile and barbaric platform (i.e. the Democrats) should examine there own consciences before accusing Trump or his supporters. God Bless.

  11. WVC says:

    @michele421 – Now, with EVERYTHING that is going on, with the level of insanity and hatred spewing out of the current administration, with active persecution of anyone who does not bow down before the Medical Fascist Authorities, with the most outright pushing of abortion in the history of the country, with transgender boys raping girls in bathrooms . . . NOW is the time you want to score some kind of brownie points on your Never Trumper card?

    I fail to comprehend your priorities.

  12. GregB says:

    The Robert Royal column is terrific. I’m thankful that Robert Royal brought up the interviews between Francis and Eugenio Scalfari. The Biden-Francis meeting has the same M.O. as the Francis-Eugenio Scalfari interviews.

  13. samwise says:

    ¿Possible that Biden asked to go to confession with Pope Francis. [Ummmmm….] Due to the seal, Vatican was unable to disclose conversation other than not denying that after an act of contrition & promise to do penance, Francis permitted Biden ro receive…? Biden sure has eaten humble pie recently with failed agenda…

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