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Vatican denies Pompeo audience with Pope

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on September 30, 2020 - Duration: 01:36s

Vatican denies Pompeo audience with Pope

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed what he called China's "repressive" regime on Wednesday, as Vatican officials accuse him of trying to drag the Catholic Church into the U.S. presidential election.

Caroline Malone reports.

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Vatican denies Pompeo audience with Pope

The Vatican said Wednesday it had denied U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo an audience with Pope Francis - and accused him of trying to drag the Catholic Church into the U.S. presidential election after he denounced its relations with China.

Two top Vatican diplomatic officials made the extraordinary remarks as Pompeo was in Rome, ahead of a planned trip to meet members of the Vatican Thursday.

Pompeo said in an article and series of tweets earlier this month that the Vatican is putting its “moral authority” at risk by renewing an agreement with China over appointing bishops.

On Wednesday, he slammed what he called Beijing’s repression of freedoms, especially of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Tibetan Buddhists, and Catholic lay leaders in the human rights movement in Hong Kong.

"Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than it is inside of China today.

That's because as with all communist regimes, the Chinese Communist Party deems itself the ultimate moral authority and the increasingly repressive CCP frightened by its own lack of democratic legitimacy, works day and night to snuff out the lamp of freedom, especially religious freedom, on a horrifying scale." The Vatican has a two-year agreement with Beijing that gives the Pope some say over the appointment of Chinese bishops, which is expected to be renewed next month.

Holy See officials see it as progress after decades in which Chinese Catholics were driven underground.

Officially the Vatican said Pope Francis had declined a request from Pompeo for an audience, as the pope avoids meeting politicians ahead of elections.

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