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Pompeo urges Vatican to join in denouncing China's violations of religious freedoms

The secretary of state's request is complicated by controversial agreement Vatican has with China over bishop nominations

Updated: September 30, 2020 - 1:41pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is urging the Vatican to join the U.S. in denouncing China's violations of religious freedoms.

Pompeo made the appeal at a conference on religious freedom organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, according to the Associated Press

“We must support those demanding freedom in our time,” Pompeo said, making the case that the Catholic Church should be at the forefront of the human rights issue.

Pompeo's request comes amid the Vatican entering into negotiations with China over a controversial agreement on bishop nominations.

The Vatican has defended its agreement with China, saying it is not a political or diplomatic accord. 

Pompeo’s visit to the Vatican was preceded by an essay in the conservative magazine First Things suggesting that the Vatican had compromised its moral authority by signing the 2018 accord with Beijing.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, attended the event but didn’t mention China in his remarks. He instead denounced the imposition of gender ideology in the West as a violation of religious freedom, the wire service also reported.