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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The White House has appeared to suggest that the late Pope Benedict XVI did not want President Joe Biden at his funeral.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed at Tuesday’s briefing that Biden will not be traveling to Rome for Benedict’s funeral on Thursday, January 5. Joe Donnelly, the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, will be representing the country instead.

Notably, Jean-Pierre added that Donnelly’s attendance in Biden’s stead is “in line with the wishes of the late pope and the Vatican.”

“This is what their requests were. This is what their wishes were,” she said.

It is currently unclear if the Vatican or the late pontiff refused to extend an invitation to Biden because of the president’s highly publicized political stances at odds with Church teaching. The Vatican has not responded to LifeSiteNews’ request for comment.

Biden appointed Donnelly, a Democratic former U.S. senator from Indiana, as his ambassador to the Vatican in October 2021. Like the president, Donnelly is a professed Catholic who nevertheless is known to promote access to abortion, LGBT ideology, and same-sex “marriage.”

Further speculation over Biden’s non-attendance was fueled after a group of reporters met the president before he boarded a Marine One helicopter late Wednesday morning. When asked why he wasn’t attending Benedict’s funeral, Biden briefly sparred with the reporter and then claimed “we would just get in the way” because “it would take an entourage of 1,000 people to show up.”

A Biden administration spokeswoman told The Daily Signal that the president “asked” Donnelly to attend Benedict’s funeral, but she elaborated only with a brief reference to “what the Vatican has said publicly about official delegations.”

READ: Cdl. Zen allowed to leave Hong Kong for Pope Benedict’s funeral

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UPDATE (01/11/23): This petition has been hand-delivered to the Vatican.


UPDATE (1/3/23): John-Henry Westen will hand-deliver this petition to the Vatican in the coming days, so please SIGN and SHARE it with as many people as possible. 


America’s best loved pro-life priest, Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life as well as the President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, has been laicized (dismissed from the priesthood) by order of Pope Francis.  

SIGN: This outrageous attack on the pro-life movement by the so-called “listening Church” is a mockery of justice. Stand by Fr. Pavone ASAP! 

A December 13 letter to all bishops in America, sent from the Pope’s representative in America – the Papal Nuncio Fr. Christophe Pierre – said that Fr. Pavone was laicized for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” 

In a separate statement, the papal nuncio wrote that the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy – the head of the Vatican’s department dealing with priests – said that there was “no possibility of appeal” of the decision. 

DEMAND JUSTICE: Pope Francis' totalitarian regime cannot strike down faithful pro-life priests like Fr. Frank Pavone without international outrage! 

The statement calls Fr. Pavone, “Mr. Pavone.”  

“Since Priests for Life, Inc. is not a Catholic organization, Mr. Pavone's continuing role in it as a lay person would be entirely up to the leadership of that organization,” the statement says. 

The statement notes that the decision on the matter by the Dicastery for Clergy was issued on November 9, but Fr. Pavone had not heard of the decision from the Vatican until CNA called him for comment. 


If Pope Francis and this Vatican regime can get away with expelling faithful priests like Fr. Frank Pavone, then the Catholic Church may truly be entering the darkest period of her existence!  


John-Henry Westen: Here Is What the 'Blasphemy' Charge Against Fr. Pavone Is All About

John-Henry Westen: BREAKING: Pope Francis laicizes America’s best loved pro-life priest Fr. Frank Pavone

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The only official delegations attending Benedict’s funeral are from Germany and Italy, but the Catholic News Agency reports that many other world leaders will be attending in an unofficial capacity, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Queen Sofia of Spain, King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, among others.

Benedict died on the morning of New Year’s Eve at age 95. Three days prior, on December 28, Benedict was reported to be “very ill” and received a visit from Pope Francis, who will be presiding over his predecessor’s funeral on Thursday morning.

In accord with the late pontiff’s wishes, the funeral will be a “solemn but simple” affair.

READ: ‘Providential support’: FSSP releases statement following death of Pope Benedict XVI

In a New Year’s Eve statement, President Biden said he and First Lady Jill “join Catholics around the world, and so many others, in mourning the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.”

“I had the privilege of spending time with Pope Benedict at the Vatican in 2011 and will always remember his generosity and welcome as well as our meaningful conversation,” he added. “He will be remembered as a renowned theologian, with a lifetime of devotion to the Church, guided by his principles and faith.”

READ: Pope Benedict XVI dies at the age of 95