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AP scoops White House press on Biden’s Communion in Rome

U.S. President Joe Biden and and first lady Jill Biden attend mass at St. Patrick's Church during the G20 leaders summit, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Rome. (AP Photo/Nicole Winfield)

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Vatican correspondent Nicole Winfield relied on instinct, local knowledge and a deep awareness of the significance of President Joe Biden receiving Communion in Rome to report exclusively that he had slipped into the American Catholic church for a Saturday vigil Mass a day after meeting Pope Francis.

The story and an exclusive photo of the Bidens standing in the pew, shot by Winfiield with her smartphone, scooped even White House press officers, who didn’t know where the president had gone until AP’s pool reporter, Joshua Boak, informed them.

Reporters had been expecting Biden would attend Mass on Sunday at St. Peter’s Basilica. Biden regularly attends Mass and receives Communion, but some American Catholic bishops believe he should be denied the sacrament because of his support for abortion rights.

The story was picked up around the world and credited by Axios and The Hill, among others. It was made possible by close coordination with traveling AP reporters Zeke Miller and Boak, the Washington trip desk’s Darlene Superville and White House editor Nancy Benac.

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President Joe Biden walks out of St. Patrick’s Church after attending Mass during the G20 leaders summit in Rome, Oct. 30, 2021. – AP Photo / Evan Vucci
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