The Vatican unexpectedly canceled a scheduled live broadcast of President Joe Biden visiting Pope Francis on Thursday, the Holy See's latest limitation on media access.

The Vatican press office gave no explanation for why the live coverage of Biden's visit was cut to merely the arrival of the president's motorcade in the Apostolic Palace courtyard, where he would be greeted by a Vatican monsignor.

Any live coverage of Biden greeting the Pope in the Throne Room of the palace was canceled, as was any live footage of the two men sitting down to begin their private conversations in Francis' library, when the cameras would ordinarily have ceased operating.

Joe Biden will have personal and political meeting with Pope Francis

The Vatican said it will give credentialed journalists with edited footage of the encounter after it occurred, Daily Mail reported. Biden, the second Catholic president of the United States, has seen Pope Francis three times before, but this will be his first meeting as president.

The audience was being closely watched since the United States bishops are meeting in a few weeks for their annual fall assembly, and one of the agenda issues has been inspired by conservatives who believe Biden's support for abortion rights should bar him from taking Communion.

Though any letter issued by the bishops' conference is unlikely to identify Biden by name, it's probable that there will be a strong message of condemnation. Francis has emphasized the church's opposition to abortion, referring to it as "murder." However, he has stated that bishops should be pastors rather than politicians.

A Roman Catholic president will visit the Vatican for only the second time in US history to meet with his church's leader, as per NBC News. But Friday's encounter will be unlike any other between a pope and a president, more of a reunion between two men who have grown close personally and politically over the previous decade.

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Vatican canceled live broadcast plan

Whereas John F. Kennedy was careful to establish his independence from Rome, Biden has not shied away from highlighting how his faith has shaped his career, nor from the relationship he's formed with Francis, which is based on shared faith and philosophy and has deepened through multiple face-to-face meetings.

They'll gather for the first time as peers and fellow chiefs of state, with topics including climate change, poverty, and the global reaction to COVID-19 on the agenda.

But it was a highly personal moment between them a few days later that proved the most impactful. Just three months after Biden had buried his oldest son, Beau, Pope Francis conducted a private audience with Biden and his family before leaving the United States from Philadelphia.

Biden introduced Pope Francis to his family, including his son's widow and children, one by one in a small, unremarkable room at the airport before the group sat down for a long talk.

Per Voice of America, the administration sources said the two have met three times and exchanged letters, and Biden has met with both of Francis' predecessors. This Pope's audience will not be shown live on television.

The Vatican canceled a planned live broadcast of the conference on Thursday, which Biden would attend before flying to Rome for the G-20 summit and then to Glasgow, Scotland for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

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