(PresidentialHill.com)- President Biden honored the late pope from Washington, D.C. after Benedict XVI requested he not attend his funeral, according to Fox News. In an unannounced visit, Biden signed the book of condolences at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States after the conclusion of the pontiff’s funeral in Rome.
The Apostolic Nunciature is similar to an embassy and represents the interests of the Bishop of Rome. Biden met with Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre and said that it was an honor. When asked for his thoughts on the late pontiff’s passing, Biden reflected back on his time studying theology.
“He was a great, and it reminded me of going back to theology class,” he said referring to Pope Benedict XVI, who was an acclaimed academician. “We spoke about Aquinas and about ‘Summa Theologica’ and the whole litany. I found him to be relaxing and very rational.”
The “Summa Theologica” or “Summary of Theology” was written by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century. Aquinas is described as “the most influential thinker of the medieval period” and has been a leading philosopher in the Catholic faith for centuries more to come.
Biden also said that Benedict was more conservative as a Catholic than he and suggested that he had more in common with the philosophy of Pope Francis, who also leans left on many issues. The pope attacked the rise of populism in November, calling for a commitment to the poor, homeless, and immigrants coming into Italy, according to Newsmax.
“But I admired him. I thought he was a fine man,” Biden added, referring to the late pontiff.
When asked why he was not attending the funeral, Biden said that it would move the occasion in the “wrong direction,” citing the thousands of people that would have to show up to support his visit.