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Pope Francis Congratulates President-elect Biden

FILE - On April 29, 2016, Pope Francis shakes hands with then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican.

Pope Francis applauded Joe Biden’s projected U.S. presidential victory and offered him blessings during a phone conversation Thursday, according to Biden’s transition team.

“The president-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation and common bonds of humanity around the world,” the transition team said in a statement.

Biden also expressed a desire to collaborate with the pope to advance “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.”

Biden is the second Catholic to be elected U.S. president. Democrat John F. Kennedy was the first to win the White House, in 1960.

The president-elect has also spoken this week with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.