Pope Francis offers congratulations to Biden

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Pope Francis spoke by phone with Joe Biden on Thursday morning, becoming the latest world leader to congratulate the American president-elect.

Biden thanked Francis “for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world,” according to a statement from the Biden transition team.

Biden also “expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,” the statement said.

Their conversation came after several other members of the international community have reached out to Biden in recent days, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Irish Taoiseach Micheál Martin and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Biden and Francis have met at least once before, when Francis became the first pope to address a joint session of Congress in 2015. Then-Vice President Biden was seated behind Francis atop the House speaker’s rostrum as the pope delivered his remarks.

The call Thursday between the pope and the president-elect is also notable in that Biden is poised to become the second Catholic president of the United States, after John F. Kennedy. Biden frequently recited Scripture on the 2020 campaign trail and is known to carry rosary beads in his pocket.

“Faith sees best in the dark,” he sometimes says in public remarks, quoting the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard. Biden attended church on the morning of Election Day, and in his victory speech Saturday, he invoked the hymn “On Eagle’s Wings.”

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