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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Vatican axes coverage of Biden meeting with Pope Francis

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The Vatican’s press office on Thursday canceled plans to broadcast livestream video of President Biden meeting on Friday with Pope Francis and now will only broadcast the arrival of Biden’s motorcade.

It’s unclear if the White House requested that the broadcast be curtailed. Spokespeople did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

The Associated Press reports that the Vatican for years has streamed video of the pope’s meetings with visiting leaders.

Biden is the second Catholic president and has met with Pope Francis on three previous occasions, though not as president. The visit follows a meeting this month between Francis and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The pope, 84, has dismissed a push by more conservative US bishops to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support legal access to abortion, such as Pelosi and Biden. The US bishops will meet next month to discuss the idea.

Joe Biden.
It’s unclear if the White House requested that the broadcast be curtailed as press access to President Biden has been more limited than his predecessors.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Press-access issues plagued Biden’s first foreign trip to Europe in June. US reporters were abruptly disinvited from covering a meeting between Biden and Turkey’s authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan — leaving US reporters relying on Erdogan’s press office for information. And Biden watched in apparent amusement as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s security team shoved US reporters out of an introductory pool spray.

In DC, Biden’s press agents have upset the White House press corps by sharply limiting access.

Biden has given far fewer interviews than recent predecessors, and reporters allowed into events at the White House are pre-screened using a mysterious selection process due to dubious COVID-19 “spacing constraints” in large event spaces, despite no such constraints since June in the relatively small White House briefing room.

Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has dismissed a push by more conservative US bishops to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support legal access to abortion, such as President Biden.
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

At a recent event, Biden joked with preschoolers about avoiding the press.

“They get to ask you all kinds of questions. And you try to figure out how you can avoid answering them sometimes,” he told the children.

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