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Politics

‘Many serious matters’ discussed at G7, Joe Biden tells Catholic priest as he and Jill Biden attend Mass

by Press Association

US President Joe Biden has told a Catholic priest “many serious matters” were discussed at this year’s G7 summit.

He and First Lady Jill Biden attended morning Mass in Cornwall on the final day of the gathering of world leaders.

The couple arrived at the Sacred Heart and St Ia Catholic Church in St Ives, a short drive from where they have been staying in Carbis Bay, at 9.15am.

Several security people lined the streets of the town, while people stood outside their homes and were told to stand back and wait during the service.

Mr and Mrs Biden left the church just after 9.40am.

Father Philip Dyson told the PA news agency that he had not been given advance warning that the president and his wife would be joining them for the service.

“We realised people were coming with security so I thought maybe the president would be coming along so we just welcomed him,” he said.

He admitted he was slightly nervous while conducting the service.

“It’s the President of the United States of America,” he said. “It’s a great occasion to welcome him into our parish, into the church, and it’s lovely to know he made the time in his busy schedule in order to come to Mass.”

The priest added that he had managed to have a “quick word” with Mr Biden.

“I welcomed him to Cornwall and he said he was enjoying his time here and there were many serious matters they were discussing and just hope it’s going to come to fruition,” he said.

“I think the G7 has been such a great occasion. The scripture readings were appropriate because it was about creation and climate, and things growing, so it absolutely suited the occasion.”

He added that the scriptures were not selected “by choice”, adding: “It’s just the way it always is. The word of God always fits in.”

Mr and Mrs Biden left in separate cars and the president was seen lowering his black face mask and giving his wife a kiss before she got into her vehicle.

The president wore a navy suit, white shirt and blue tie, while the First Lady wore a black and white suit with a pearl necklace.

Reporters at the church asked Mr Biden for his thoughts on the church, and he said it was “beautiful”.

He was then asked about the G7 and China while getting into his car, but did not answer.

The motorcade drove off moments later.

One parishioner, known only as Margaret, was in the church with the Bidens during the service.

“It was very nice,” she said. “We’re not a very large Catholic community but we have a very good priest. It was lovely that Joe Biden and his wife wanted to join us.”

The president is open about his Catholic faith and famously visited the St Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Delaware on the morning of the US election last November.

His speeches regularly include biblical references and he reportedly received a congratulatory phone call from Pope Francis after winning last year’s election.

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