The Washington Times - March 18, 2013, 01:21PM

In Rome for the formal installation of Pope Francis, Vice President Joseph R. Biden wisecracked Monday that he would “lose my soul” if he skipped a reception with U.S. Catholic cardinals.

“We invited the American cardinals to a reception,” Mr. Biden told Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic in a meeting. “So unless I’m prepared to join the Eastern Orthodox Church, as a Roman Catholic, I’d better show up or I’ll lose my soul.”

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Mr. Biden, a practicing Catholic, is leading a U.S. delegation that will attend the installation of the new pope on Tuesday. The reception Monday night in Rome will include U.S. lawmakers and officials from the U.S. Embassy.