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Pope Francis congratulates Joe Biden on US election win

Biden receives pope's "blessing and congratulations" in phone call.

Pope Francis called US President-elect Joe Biden to offer him his "blessings and congratulations" on 12 November, the Vatican has confirmed.

The pontiff is the latest world leader to offer his congratulations to Biden who in January is set to become the first American Catholic president since John F. Kennedy in the 1960s.

During the conversation Biden thanked the pontiff and noted his "appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world," according to a statement released by the president-elect's transition team.

Biden "expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,” the statement said.

Biden and Pope Francis share common ground in their desire to tackle such issues however the president-elect's voting record and views favouring abortion rights are seen as irreconcilable with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Despite Biden attending Mass on Sundays, his views on abortion saw many conservative American Catholics voting for incumbent president Donald Trump in the recent US election.

Over the last four years Pope Francis clashed frequently with Trump on a range of issues, including China, Cuba, climate change and immigration, reports Reuters.

In 2017 after Trump promised to build a wall along the US border with Mexico, Francis said that it was a Christian calling “to not raise walls but bridges," in what was seen as a thinly-veiled attack on the president.

A few months later Trump met Pope Francis at the Vatican, with the pontiff famously scowling in the press photographs.

Biden first met Pope Francis in 2013 as US vice president, serving with President Barack Obama, reports the Catholic News Service.

Two years later Biden and Obama welcomed Francis to Washington, where the pontiff addressed a joint meeting of Congress on 24 September 2015.

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