WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sean Spicer finally got to meet the Pope.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirms the former White House press secretary attended a meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday.
Spicer is a Catholic who attends Mass regularly, and appeared at a press briefing on Ash Wednesday wearing ashes on his forehead. (He said he gave up alcohol for Lent.)
The audience was part of an annual meeting of the International Catholic Legislators Network, which gathers lawmakers from across the world.
Vatican Radio posted photographs of the event on its Facebook page. One photo shows Spicer in the front row, taking photos of the pope with his phone.
Spicer had been left off a list of White House officials who had the chance to meet with Pope Francis in May when Trump visited the Vatican. During the meeting, Trump was accompanied by his wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Also present were Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, State Department aide Brian Hook, head of security Keith Schiller, and communications officers Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino.
At the time, many in the White House press corps saw the exclusion of Spicer from the presidential entourage to be a slight.
Two New York Times journalists tweeted about the non-meeting.
“That planners of this trip couldn’t or wouldn’t get @seanspicer into the Vatican speaks to a small-mindedness I find incredibly depressing,” tweeted Glenn Thrush. While Maggie Haberman tweeted, “This seems needlessly harsh – when else is Spicer likely to meet the Pope, and it mattered to him?”
Despite this moment of sympathy, Spicer usually had a combative relationship with the press, matching the tone set by his boss. He announced his resignation last month, but remains on the White House payroll through the end of August.
During Sunday’s meeting, Pope Francis urged attendees to bring a commitment to Church teaching to their public lives in order to build a better society.
“While the contribution of the Church to the great questions of the society of our time can often be called into question, it is vital that your commitment is continually permeated by her moral and social teachings in order to build a more humane and just society,” Francis said, according to the Spanish edition of Vatican Radio.
He also encouraged the legislators to draw on the fruits of their reflections in Rome about “how the Catholic faith conducts towards a just understanding of the person” when they go back to their countries.
Crux staff contributed to this report.