I suspect there will be more details to come, but here’s the first take, from the White House:
The Vatican described the president’s meetings with both the pope and with top Vatican diplomats as consisting of “cordial discussions,” with both sides “focused on the joint commitment to the protection and care of the planet, the health care situation and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
They also discussed “refugees and assistance to migrants,” the Vatican said, and “reference was also made to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and conscience.”
… During a nearly 90-minute meeting in the library of the Apostolic Palace, which included 75 minutes of closed-door discussions between the two leaders, Pope Francis gave Biden a large painted ceramic tile of a pilgrim walking along Rome’s Tiber River and pointing to St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance. It and its border of shell designs symbolize “protection from adversity” during one’s spiritual growth and the hope of reaching a deeper and more fulfilling purpose at the end of this spiritual journey, according to an explanation of the artistic piece.
Pope Francis also gave the president a signed copy of his message for World Day of Peace 2021, a collection of his major documents, including his document on human fraternity, and the book, “Why Are You Afraid? Have You No Faith? The World Facing the Pandemic.” The book contains photographs and homilies, messages and prayers the pope delivered during the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of love, hope, solidarity and the common good.
Biden presented Pope Francis with a framed, handwoven “fiddleback” chasuble that had been made by Gamarellis, the famous Rome tailor shop, in 1930, for Jesuits in the United States. The White House was also making a donation of winter clothing to charities in the name of Pope Francis to commemorate the World Day of the Poor Nov. 14.
Biden also gave the pope a copy of his memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” about losing his firstborn son, Beau Biden, to brain cancer at the age of 46 and a presidential command coin inscribed with the unit of his late son, who had been deployed to Iraq in 2008.
Biden explained the reason for the coin to the pope, “I’m not sure this is appropriate, but there’s a tradition in America that the president has what is called a command coin that he gives to warriors and leaders and you are the most significant warrior for peace I’ve ever met.”
“And with your permission, I’d like to give you this coin,” he said, saying, “I know my son would want me to give this to you.”