Pompeo Meets with Vatican Officials Who Reject His Anti-China Gambit
Oct. 1, 2020 (EIRNS)—Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich (Newt Gingrich’s wife) met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican foreign minister, for 45 minutes at the Vatican today. Pompeo was on his whirlwind tour to mobilize countries and institutions against the People’s Republic of China, but he fell flat in swaying the Vatican not to renew the agreement it has had with the P.R.C. on the issue of the appointment of Catholic bishops in China, up for renewal in October.
Prior to his visit Pompeo had written an article for a conservative Catholic magazine, First Things, in which he attacked the China-Vatican agreement. The article torpedoed any meeting he might have expected with Pope Francis. Parolin, who was also primarily responsible for the China agreement, told reporters on Sept. 30 that Pompeo’s article must be read in the context of the magazine in which it was published, a periodical often critical of Pope Francis. That choice, he said, “says something about the intention of those who wrote this article.” The general impression left was that Pompeo was attempting to rally Catholic voters to elect Trump.
Later in the day, after his meeting with Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio, Pompeo was asked if his article was motivated by Trump’s campaign. “That’s just crazy,” he said. “This has everything to do with making life better for the Chinese people, and the article that I wrote, the statement I made, is consistent with longstanding administration policy” on China.
In a Vatican press release, it was said that “the sides presented their respective positions regarding relations with the People’s Republic of China in a climate of respect, relaxed and cordial.” In addition, they also discussed “some zones of conflict and crisis, particularly the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean.”