Pope Francis and Joe Biden speak at the Vatican on finding a cure for cancer.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Vatican City to discuss two of his passions: curing cancer and the Roman Catholic faith. The Vice President mentioned the pressing need of finding new cures for cancer, the subject which has defined his last year in office. He was speaking at Third International Regenerative Medicine Conference in the small city state.

Biden and Pope Francis shared a stage. The latter decried a medical research system which is exclusively driven by profits. The pontiff requested empathy when it comes to the sick. He also stressed the communal guarantees for all enjoying access to care. The Pope said research, irrespective of whether it is government or private, needs unwavering compliance to morality. If this is followed, he said, then only human life can be safeguarded and dignity of person protected.

The Pope did what he had done a number of times in the past: he gave a voice to moral argument buttressing a cause which both President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden have tried to push forward, pushing aside the standard political partisan divide. The U.S. administration under Obama’s stewardship has looked towards Pope Francis for his vital support related to poverty, refugees, rapprochement with Cuba and climate change.

The conference was organized with the intention to focus on the stunning research advances which are made possible with the adult stem cells. The gathering deftly sidesteps the contentious issue of embryonic stem cell or fetal tissue research. Dr. Robin Smith, who is president of Stem for Life Foundation, said that no person should have to make a choice between faith and science. Dr. Smith is also one of the organizers of this three daylong conference.

For Vice President Biden, this is precisely the tightrope which he has walked his entire life. He had embraced the tenets of Catholicism along with gay marriage and abortion rights. The Obama led U.S. administration continues its funding support for research related to fetal tissue. It is opposed by Catholics and a number of people who are opposed to abortion.

When it came to Biden, the aristocratic corridors and the Vatican City Swiss Guards were a complete dissonance from few hours earlier. The Vice President was in Iraq at that time, making an unannounced visit. Biden toiled to smooth deep sectarian tensions that threaten the political system of Iraq. In contrast, Biden appealed to all religions in the Vatican to defeat cancer as a means to express values of hope, faith and love.

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