New outreach to Catholics as Biden meets with Cardinal Timothy Dolan in New York

Vice President Joe Biden received Communion at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on Sunday

Vice President Joe Biden attended mass and received communion on Sunday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York where the mass was celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

At a time when the administration is being sued by Dolan and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference over the Obama health care provision on birth control, the meeting was seen as an attempt to create a new dialogue.

An Irish American Catholic, Biden receiving communion was also seen as significant. Dolan’s predecessor Cardinal Edward Egan refused to give communion to those who differed with the church on the abortion issue.

Biden says he is pro-life but will not seek to impose his views on others.

Biden met with Cardinal Dolan after the mass for coffee but what they discussed was not made public.

Biden’s latest move comes at a time when the Obama administration appears to be using the VP in a new outreach to American Catholics.

Biden represented the administration at the swearing in of Pope Francis in Rome where he again received communion.  He was also inaugurated into the Irish America Hall of Fame last week, also in New York, attended by many leading Irish American Catholics.

Meanwhile, Dolan revealed that he had many stories to tell about the papal conclave.

"You know I just got back from three historic weeks in Rome, and you better get used to hearing a lot of stories about those three weeks," Dolan said.

"It was quite an experience, to hear the first-hand stories of how they chose the pope and special inside information we got, it was truly a delight," said a woman who attended the Mass.

Palm Sunday is among the most significant of the Catholic holy days and begins Holy Week which ends with Easter Sunday.

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