The Washington Post

Biden to lead U.S. delegation to Pope Francis’s installation

REUTERS/Charles Dharapak (Charles Dharapak/Reuters)

Vice President Biden, an observant Catholic, will lead the U.S. delegation to Rome for Pope Francis's installation, a White House official confirmed. No dates have been announced, but the ceremony could take place as early as Tuesday on behalf of Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, who was selected Wednesday.

"Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility," Biden said in a statement Wednesday. "I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome for his Inaugural Mass. The Catholic Church plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths. I look forward to our work together in the coming years on many important issues."

Biden has served as one of President Obama's informal religious advisers on matters concerning the Catholic Church, including the debate over contraception last year under the administration's new health-care law. During the vice presidential debate against Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last year, Biden said he did not believe in imposing his personal view on issues such as abortion on the rest of the country.

"My religion defines who I am," Biden said. "Life begins at conception. That's the church's position. I accept it in my personal life. But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims, and Jews."

This post has been updated.

David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Republicans debate Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Heading into the next debate...
Donald Trump returns to the Republican presidential debate stage Saturday night. Marco Rubio arrives as a sudden star, but fending off ferocious attacks from his rivals. Still glowing from his Iowa victory, Ted Cruz is trying to consolidate conservative support, while Ben Carson is struggling to avoid being typecast as the dead man walking.
Listen
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote.
New Hampshire polling averages
Polling in New Hampshire has typically been volatile after Iowa's caucuses, but Bernie Sanders, from its neighboring state Vermont, has been holding a lead over Hillary Clinton.
55% 38%
Listen
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 6: GOP debate

on ABC News, in Manchester, N.H.

Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.