| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

Vatican abruptly cancels live TV broadcast of Biden, Pope Francis meeting

The live broadcast of the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Pope Francis, was cancelled abruptly by the Vatican.
After landing in Rome, Biden headed first to the Vatican for a largely good-humoured sit-down with Pope Francis.
This was the first meeting between the two individuals since the 78-year old was elected president.
But the live broadcast was trimmed to cover just the arrival of the president’s motorcade in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace.
Calling it ”normal procedure,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said it was part of the revised plan during the coronavirus pandemic for all visiting heads of state or government.
However, the restriction has sparked complaints from the White House and Vatican-accredited journalists.
According to an updated protocol, the Vatican has imposed a ”18-month ban on any independent media being in the room for the beginning and end of the audience.”
In response, Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser said the administration was”“actively engaged.”
”The United States will always advocate for access for the free press, and especially for our good friends in the American press who travel with us on these long flights over, to be able to capture and chronicle the president’s engagements,” he said.
Biden and the pope share a range of concerns, from poverty to climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
But they have different opinions on abortion. Biden supports the right to choose, while Francis, 84, has slammed terminating pregnancies as “murder”.