Biden expected to meet Pope Francis
By Jordan Fabian - 04/27/16 05:16 PM EDT
Vice President Biden is expected to cross paths with Pope Francis when he visits the Vatican on Friday to plug his “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer.
“There definitely will be some kind of interaction with the pope,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
It’s not clear whether the pope will meet Biden in a private, one-on-one setting. The official said the vice president’s office is still discussing “the exact parameters of the interaction” with the Vatican.
Biden, a Catholic, is expected to meet separately with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and a top Vatican diplomat.
The vice president is expected to urge foreign countries and medical institutions to collaborate on developing innovative cancer cures during his speech at a conference on regenerative medicine, officials said.
The gathering will bring together doctors, researchers, philanthropists and politicians to discuss ways to make stem-cell and “other ethical cellular therapies" available to more cancer patients.
It’s also an opportunity for Biden to have one last encounter with Pope Francis before the vice president leaves office in January.
Biden last met with the pontiff when he visited the White House and spoke to Congress last September.
Although his support for abortion rights is at odds with church teachings, Biden has praised Pope Francis for his focus on climate change and helping the poor.
The pope had a brief, private meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders earlier this month after he appeared at a Vatican conference, a sign that a meeting with Biden could also be accommodated.