President Biden Will Not Be Attending Pope Benedict’s Funeral

President Joe Biden presents himself as a committed member of the Catholic Church. But he will not be attending the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. And the reason for this is that it represents the wishes of the late pope and the Vatican, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The United States will send the Ambassador of the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, in the president’s place. Jean-Pierre said that this was “in line with the wishes of the late Pope and the Vatican. This is what their requests were. This is what their wishes were.”

The funeral will only host world leaders from Italy and Benedict’s home country of Germany because of the private nature of the event, according to reports given by Reuters. 

Pope Benedict died at the age of 95 years old on Saturday. He resigned from his position as pope in 2013 because of health reasons, he was the first to do this in 600 years. 

The funeral service for the pope will be held on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis will preside over the funeral, according to Vatican News. 

President Biden “will always remember the pope’s generosity and meaningful conversation they had when they visited the Vatican in 2011,” according to Jean-Pierre who was reading from Biden’s statement given after the pope’s death. 

“Jill and I join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” the statement read.

Biden’s statement remembered the pope as a renowned theologian who had a lifetime of devotion to the Church. Biden also noted a statement Pope Benedict made while visiting the White House in 2008, “The need for global solidarity is as urgent as ever, if all people are to live in a way worthy of their dignity.”