Religion Unplugged

President Biden is a fan of Pope Francis, but is Francis a fan of Biden?

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-in” features analysis, fact checking and top headlines from the world of faith. Subscribe now to get this newsletter delivered straight to your inbox. Got feedback or ideas? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

Pope Francis is a big supporter of President Joe Biden.

U.S. Catholic bishops are not.

At least that’s a prominent narrative concerning America’s second Catholic president (after John F. Kennedy).

To wit: The headline on a Los Angeles Times news story this week declared:

Pope Francis is a Biden fan, but some U.S. Catholic leaders give president a frosty reception

My sincere question: Is it accurate to characterize Francis as a Biden fan?

“While Pope Francis has enjoyed a warm relationship with Biden from time spent together in both the U.S. and at the Vatican, it would be wrong to classify him as a partisan player in U.S. politics,” Christopher White, national correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, told me. “His approach to any world leader is to try to find common ground and see where there’s work to be done together.”

Clemente Lisi analyzes Catholic news for Religion Unplugged.

“I’d say the pope seems cordial to Biden, and the two have met a few times,” Lisi said in response to my question. “There seems to be a fascination in the media to lump these two men together.”

The Los Angeles Times is, of course, just the latest major news outlet to contrast the difference in tone between how the Vatican and top U.S. bishops — notably Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez — have greeted Biden’s inauguration.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

%d bloggers like this: