Pope Francis on Wednesday urged the United States' new president Joe Biden to promote "reconciliation and peace" around the world following his inauguration.
He offered Biden, the second Roman Catholic to become US president after John F. Kennedy, his "cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers" in the task ahead.
"Under your leadership, may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding," he said.
"At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for far-sighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom," the pope said in a statement.
He also prayed Biden would be guided by "unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice."
The Argentine pontiff asked God "to guide your efforts to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace within the United States and among the nations of the world in order to advance the universal common good."
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