US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in the Vatican to meet with top Holy See officials, a day after tensions erupted over US opposition to the Vatican’s China policy.
Pompey meets with Vatican Foreign Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Foreign Minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher. The Vatican has rejected his request to see Pope Francis, citing the Holy See policy of not allowing papal spectators in the election campaign, Parolin said.
Pompey was in Rome to attend a conference on religious freedom organized by the US Embassy in Holy See and to meet with Italian and Vatican officials.
Pompey called on Wednesday to join the United States in condemning the violation of religious freedom in China, as part of a U.S. campaign to criticize Beijing’s crackdown on religious and ethnic minorities amid the coronavirus epidemic and before the November 3 election. .
The meeting comes at a time when the Vatican is in delicate talks with Beijing on extending the controversial 2018 agreement on nominating bishops to China.
The Vatican is seeking to extend the treaty, which has slowed down the negotiation process in electing bishops. It was signed in 2018 in the hope that it would help unite the Catholics of China, who have been divided between the official, state-sanctioned church for seven decades and the underground church loyal to Rome.
Pompey denies the intent of the election
Pompey was highly critical of the deal, writing an article earlier this month claiming that the Vatican had compromised their moral authority by signing it. His essay greatly irritated the Vatican, which interfered with the internal affairs of the Church in order to achieve domestic political issues.
Vatican Secretary of State Parolin said the Holy See was shocked by Pompeo’s article.
Speaking to reporters during the meeting, Parolin said the private meetings scheduled by Pompeo in the Vatican were a more appropriate setting to report his problems, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
US President Donald Trump campaigned in his tough way towards China ahead of the November 3 election. He was also strongly associated with the traditional Protestant and Catholic movements, many of which criticized Pope Francis.
On Wednesday, when asked at a briefing on whether China is “fighting” the Vatican and what impact it will have on Catholic and other Christian voters, Pompey replied: “It’s just silly.”
Trump recently graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame in the Catholic tower of Supreme Court nominee Amy Connie Barrett.
Barrett has had decades of association with appreciative people, founded in 1971, and is rooted in charismatic Catholicism, a movement that grew out of the influence of Pentecostalism, emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus and baptizing in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
The group’s 22 branches are organized and converge outside the confines of the Roman Catholic Church and include people from many Christian denominations, although most of its 1,800 adult members are Catholic.
For his part, Pompey is the deacon of an evangelical Presbyterian church in Kansas.
Pompeo began his day Thursday by visiting the Sant’Jidio community in Rome, a Catholic charity active in caring for refugees in Italy and providing HIV-AIDS care in Africa.
Arriving at the headquarters of Sant’Gidio, Pompey praised the group’s efforts as “the work of the Lord”.