The Ticket

Biden: Gotta meet U.S. cardinals ‘or I’ll lose my soul’

Olivier Knox
The Ticket

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Vice President Joe Biden is welcomed by Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti (center) on March 18, 2013. …

ROME—Vice President Joe Biden joked on Monday he’d pay a high price if he skipped a scheduled reception with America’s cardinals in Rome: “I’d better show up or I’ll lose my soul.”

Biden’s quip came as he met with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic at the Villa Aurelia in Rome a day before Pope Francis’ installation Mass, the chief reason for the vice president’s visit to Italy.

"We invited the American cardinals to a reception," Biden told Nikolic. "So unless I'm prepared to join the Eastern Orthodox Church, as a Roman Catholic, I'd better show up or I'll lose my soul."

Biden’s office elaborated on the social event: "This evening, the Vice President and Presidential Delegation to the Inaugural Mass of Pope Francis are attending a reception at Villa Aurelia hosted by Charge d'Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See Mario Mesquita with U.S. Cardinals, U.S. Members of Congress, and officials from U.S Embassy Rome, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome."

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