POPE FRANCIS TO RECEIVE U.S. PRESIDENT BIDEN FRIDAY: ROME’S MASSIVE SECURITY MEASURES
Tomorrow morning Pope Francis is scheduled to receive two of the leaders in Rome for the G20 summit, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and U.S. President Joe Biden.
The Vatican announced today that there will be no live coverage of either president’s audience with Pope Francis. There has been reaction from correspondents, including this from the White House Correspondents Association president: Steven Portnoy on Twitter: “The @whca joins Vatican reporters in expressing our disappointment that the world won’t see live pictures of President Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis.” / Twitter Also Joan Lewis (@joansrome) / Twitter
As interesting as any photos or footage provided of Biden’s meeting with the Holy Father, will be the Vatican statement that the press office releases after the Pope receives a head of State or government.
Pundits are wondering if Pope Francis will talk to Catholic U.S. President Biden about his pro-abortion stance. Just last month on a flight to Rome from Slovakia, the Pope told journalists “Abortion… is more than a problem, it is murder. Whoever has an abortion kills.”
Will Francis, they ask, have the courage to address a Catholic president whose position on abortion is totally at odds with Catholic teaching.
Biden is only the second Catholic president in the history of the United States. John F Kennedy, elected in 1960, was the first Catholic president.
The Vatican statement following Catholic Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s October 9 audience with Pope Francis never mentioned abortion, which she also wholeheartedly supports, as a topic of their meeting.
Many noted at the time the polar opposite reception given to Pelosi in 2009 when she was received by Pope Benedict: Pope Benedict strongly rebukes Pelosi over abortion (catholicnewsagency.com)
OSV, Our Sunday Visitor, published this editorial on October 19:
“President Joe Biden’s meeting with Pope Francis on Oct. 29 will be only the second audience between a pope and a Catholic president of the United States. In a statement to the media, the White House said that Biden and Pope Francis “will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor.”
“In its latest editorial, the Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board writes: “It is undeniable that those issues are important to the common good and to the future of humanity. They are, also, safe places of convergence between the Democratic Catholic president and the leader of his Church. We sincerely hope that discussion on ending the pandemic, addressing the effects of climate change and caring for the underserved bears great fruit. We also hope that the conversation doesn’t end there. While there are several major political and cultural points on which the U.S. president and the Church disagree, there is none bigger than abortion — an issue that goes to the very heart of respect for the fundamental dignity of every person. Is Biden’s radical position on abortion — a position he has not always espoused — something that might find its way into the conversation between head of state and head of Church?”
In the meantime, Rome has been preparing massive security measures as the city welcomes leaders from the around the world for the G20 summit this weekend. Thousands of agents will be positioned around the G20 venue in EUR, south of the center of Rome, as well as at and near embassies, major luxury hotels, etc. in Rome’s historic center. Security personnel from the nations whose leaders are in Rome will also be working around the clock.
Local media is reporting that Rome security chiefs are sealing off a 10-square kilometre area of the capital’s EUR district ahead of the Group of 20 Leaders’’ Summit taking place at a congress center on October 30-31. The heads of the world’s wealthiest nations are converging in Rome to discuss climate change, Covid-19and the post-pandemic global recovery.
The congress center and the media building will be inside a “red zone” and shuttles will provide transportation between the two. (Roma corriere photo)
Police snipers will be stationed on strategic rooftops throughout Rome and EUR. In addition, say local reports, Rome’s airspace will be monitored by the army and there will be maximum security around the Hotel Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria hotel on Monte Mario.
Rome residents can also expect street closures and huge bottlenecks in the center of the city and around the Vatican for several days. Security presence has been visible around the Eternal City for many days already,