Pope Francis, revered for his support of brotherhood, is expected to refuse to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visits Rome over a discord between the Vatican and China and citing the closeness of the U.S. election.
Pompeo will visit the Vatican this week to oppose the impending renewal of a two-year old agreement between the Chinese government and the Roman Catholic church, which the U.S. official has said would imperil the church's moral jurisdiction, the Guardian reported.
The pope also reportedly declined a meeting with dissenter Chinese bishop Joseph Zen a week before releasing his papal letter Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers), reports bared.
Pompeo is set to meet with Vatican State Secretary Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher. But Pope Francis, whom Pompeo met with in October 2019, would not meet with the American official.
The details of the deal between China and the Vatican have never been publicly disclosed, but it gave the church officials a say in the selection of Catholic cardinals in the state-sanctioned Church in China. The Pope also acknowledged eight bishops that had been hand-picked by Beijing without his consent.
Two new cardinals have been named in China since 2018 following deliberations with the Roman Catholic church and Chinese and church officials met publicly for the first time in 70 years.
The Church media also criticized the U.S. state secretary's words as "not very diplomatic" and associated with the antogonism shown by the U.S. administration concerning "the momentous rapprochement between China and the Holy See," the Church Militant reported.
Pompeo has asserted that Vatican officials should not restart its deal with China because of its leader's regime facing allegations of religious oppression. The renewal of the agreement between China and the Vatican is seen to be signed in the next few weeks.
Pompeo's denouncement is part of a wider design of American hostility toward Beijing during Donald Trump's incumbency as ties between the two countries have continued to deteriorate, the Guardian revealed.