Why US religious politics may feature in Joe Biden's closed door meeting with Pope

ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy has the highlights from the meeting

For a man of deep Catholic faith there can be no better audience than one with the Holy Father at the Vatican.

The meeting with Pope Francis was for President Biden the first and most personally important of his meet and greets with world leaders.

Having travelled through the night, the travails of his domestic legislature delaying his departure from DC, this was a meeting of similar minds.

What topics were likely talked about during the lengthy discussion?

Their agenda, a chance to build on shared ambition, whether tackling climate change, the pandemic or poverty.

Two of those issues collided in advance - the President’s motorcade a gas-guzzling 85 vehicles long because of Italian Covid restrictions which limit how many people can travel together in one vehicle.

The Pope and Mr Biden have met three times before but this was their first meeting as Pontiff and President.

Joe Biden’s private meeting with the pope lasted about 75 minutes which is unusually long time, according to the Vatican. Credit: White House

Arriving with the First Lady, Biden announced it was good to be back, introducing himself as “Jill’s husband Joe, “ one of his old favourite lines.

Whilst this was without doubt a warm reunion it was as much about American religious politics as global issues.

President Biden is under fire at home for his stance on abortion - personally opposed but politically unwilling to allow his own faith based views to dictate policy.

As a result some within the Church are seeking to bar him from communion to personally punish him for his political choices.

The pair were expected to be talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, poverty and more. Credit: White House

We may never know if that subject will be raised - the official line from the White House that this is a chance to build on areas of mutual agreement rather than exacerbate division.

It will be slightly different later today when the President meets with President Macron of France.

In the wake of the submarine row, that is likely to be a chance to find mutual agreement in the face of division.