President Joe Biden said that Pope Francis told him he was a "good Catholic" and said he could continue to take communion despite the objections of many U.S. bishops.
Biden made the claim after a private meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican on Friday.
"We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion," Biden said about the meeting.
He added that the subject of abortion did not come up during their meeting.
A statement from the White House indicated that Biden thanked the Pope for advocating for an "equitable global economic recovery" and for fighting global warming.
"Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world's poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution," the statement added.
The Vatican did not confirm Biden's claim in their official statement about their meeting.
Biden's claim will likely disappoint and anger many conservative Catholics in the U.S. who have called for communion to be refused to politicians who support abortion, which is contrary to Catholic church teaching.
The issue is going to be taken up by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops following upon a vote during their June plenary meeting to address it generally. After Biden met with the Pope, they released a statement saying that they would not single out any specific politician if they vote to make a statement about the issue.
The Pope had previously responded to the controversy by calling on the bishops to avoid politicizing the church's highest sacrament, which would turn it into a "source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States."
Here's more about the meeting between the Pope and Biden:
President Biden meets Pope Francis in Rome www.youtube.com
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