A new campaign video released by the Joe Biden presidential campaign has sought to shed light on the former vice president's personal religious faith.
The ad features Biden, a Catholic, recalling a visit he made to the Vatican. "I had just walked out the side door of St Peter's Basilica after meeting and getting an opportunity to shake hands and have a brief conversation with Pope Francis.
"The first people I saw were a group of nuns who to me epitomise everything Pope Francis talked about in his homily and what he stands for - about generosity to other people, about reaching out and about making it a point to understand that we are our brother's keeper.
"That's what in my experience being raised as a Catholic...that's what those lovely women I'm talking to symbolised to me. I thought it was a good omen...we are our brother's keeper...we have an obligation. That's the only way we're gonna make the world better and safer.
"It was an exciting time and it gave me a lot of hope."
In the replies, one Conservative Catholic activist suggested that Biden does not adhere to the faith because he is a staunch supporter of abortion. She shared a clip of Biden talking with Hillary Clinton in which he said that abortion was "an essential healthcare service".
Last year, Biden was denied communion at a Catholic church in South Carolina over his stance on abortion.
“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church explained at the time. “Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
Still, others remain convinced that Biden harbours deep spiritual convictions. "He is viewed as having an authentic faith,” former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, Richard Mouw, told US publication Christianity Today. “He may not be the conservative Catholic that a lot of evangelicals would like him to be, but when he talks about his faith, it rings true.”
Biden is hoping to garner some support from the white evangelical community, who voted overwhelmingly (81%) in favour of Trump back in 2016 and became instrumental in his victory. While the President is unlikely to lose the majority of this core group of voters, he could become vulnerable should there be even a small swing in support among such a crucial demographic. Michael Wear, the director of faith outreach for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign, told CNN: "If Joe Biden gets 23% or higher of the White evangelical vote, he wins this election."