US President Joe Biden lauded on Friday Pope Francis' global advocacy on a host of issues affecting the world's most vulnerable.
Biden met with Francis for over an hour at the Vatican for their first face-to-face meeting since he assumed the presidency in January.
"In his audience with Pope Francis today, President Biden thanked His Holiness for his advocacy for the world’s poor and those suffering from hunger, conflict, and persecution," the White House said in a statement.
"He lauded Pope Francis’ leadership in fighting the climate crisis, as well as his advocacy to ensure the pandemic ends for everyone through vaccine sharing and an equitable global economic recovery," it added.
Biden's meeting with Francis comes amid a row with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding a "teaching document" that is set to rebuke pro-choice Catholic politicians like Biden.
Biden is only the second Catholic president in US history, and the Vatican has urged bishops to refrain from taking a divisive approach to the matter and warned them to refrain from denying him communion.