Vice President Biden meets pope
01:54 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

At the Vatican on Friday, a smiling Joe Biden gave new meaning to the title “vice” president.

Biden, a lifelong Catholic, copped to making a small wager with a reporter covering his trip – in front of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“I had to pay this man $10,” Biden told Parolin, pointing to a reporter from The New York Times. The two had bet over which car is faster, the Tesla or the Cadillac. Biden choose the Cadillac, which is slightly slower, he told the cardinal.

“Oh, yes?” Parolin answered politely.

“Does that count as a confession, sir?” asked a member of the pool covering the vice president’s Vatican visit.

“I’m seeking absolution!” Biden answered.

According to the Catholic Catechism, games of chance are not considered inherently sinful, as anyone who has played Bingo in a church basement surely knows. But gambling can become “morally unacceptable” when it deprives someone of the ability to provide for his family, the catechism says.

Given the low value of the wager, Biden’s bank account – and soul – seem safe.

On a more serious note, when Parolin and Biden met behind closed doors, they discussed the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East, especially by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, according to a White House statement. They also discussed the need for a “negotiated solution” in Syria.

The main event of Biden’s visit to the Vatican was a conference on regenerative medicine. Both Biden and Pope Francis encouraged the attendees to ensure better access to health care, particularly for the poor.

Biden, who met privately with Francis on Friday, also thanked the pontiff for his spiritual counsel to his family after his son, Beau, succumbed to brain cancer last year. The Pope and Biden met privately in Philadelphia as Francis was preparing to return to Rome after a week-long trip to the United States.

“I wish every grieving parent, brother, sister, mother, father would have the benefit of his words, his prayer, his presence,” Biden said. “He provided us with more comfort than even he, I think, will ever understand.”