The Vatican press office provided no explanation for why the live broadcast of Biden’s visit had been trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president’s motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.

 

Cancelled was any live coverage of Biden actually greeting Francis in the palace Throne Room, as well as the live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private talks in Francis’ library.

 

Biden, the second Catholic U.S. president, has met Francis three previous times, but this will be his first as president.

 

The audience was being closely monitored since U.S. bishops are due to meet in a few weeks for their annual fall convention, with one of the agenda items inspired by conservatives who contend that Biden’s support for abortion rights should disqualify him from receiving Communion.

 

Though any document that emerges from the bishops’ conference is not expected to mention Biden by name, it’s possible there could be a clear message of rebuke.

 

The Vatican has provided live television coverage for the visits of major heads of state for years and had scheduled such coverage Friday for Biden and before him, for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is also in Rome for a Group of 20 meeting this weekend.

 

 

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