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Vatican Cancels Live Broadcast Of US Prez Joe Biden Greeting Pope; Gives No Explanation

The Vatican press did not say why the live coverage of Biden's visit has been cut to merely the arrival of the president's motorcade in the Apostolic Palace

Vatican City


On Thursday, the Vatican abruptly cancelled a planned live broadcast of US President Joe Biden meeting Pope Francis, the Holy See's latest limitation on media coverage. The Vatican press office gave no explanation for why the live coverage of Biden's visit has been cut to merely the arrival of the President's motorcade in the Apostolic Palace courtyard, where he will be greeted by a Vatican monsignor, reported The Associated Press (AP). All live coverage of Biden greeting Francis in the Throne Room of the palace was cancelled, as was any live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private conversations in Francis' library.

The Vatican said it will provide accredited media with edited footage of the meeting after it is over. Biden, the second Catholic president of the United States, has met Francis three times before, but this will be his first as the President. The audience was being closely watched since the United States bishops are meeting in a few weeks for their annual fall convention. One of the agenda issues has been inspired by conservatives who believe Biden's support for abortion rights should bar him from taking Communion. Though any document issued by the bishops' conference is unlikely to mention Biden by name, it's probable that there will be a clear message of condemnation. 

'Bishops should be pastors rather than politicians'

Francis has reaffirmed the church's anti-abortion stance, calling it "murder." However, he has stated that bishops should be pastors rather than politicians. For years, the Vatican has broadcast live television coverage of key heads of state. It had also planned to do so for Biden on Friday, October 19. As the Vatican has not permitted independent photographers or journalists into papal audiences since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, live broadcasts hold significant importance, reported the news agency. 

The Vatican has continued to state the pandemic as a reason to refuse external media access to the start and finish of papal audiences with foreign leaders, despite the fact that they are permitted to attend other papal events. Although reporters can see the presents that are exchanged, observe the ceremonial photograph being taken, and overhear remarks as the leaders enter and depart in the pope's library to get a sense of how the pope and his visitor have gotten along. Only the official photographer of the Pope and Vatican video journalists are now allowed entry. Notably, President Biden is bringing his own reporters, who would usually be allowed into the pope's library at the start and finish of the audience, reported The AP. 

(With AP inputs)

Image: AP

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