US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today asked Pope Francis for “courage” to combat religious persecution, particularly against China, with which the Vatican is about to renew an agreement on the appointment of bishops
“I appeal to all religious leaders to find the courage to face the religious persecutions of their own communities and of other times,” said Pompeo at a seminar in Rome, which also included British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, in charge of Vatican relations with other states.
Pompeo strongly criticized China, which accuses of repressing Catholic and Muslim minorities, adding that “Christian leaders must defend their brothers and sisters”. “Nowhere else in China is freedom of worship so attacked,” said the head of American diplomacy, who repeatedly cited Pope John Paul II’s commitment to the Soviet bloc in the 1980s on behalf of than what the Polish pope considered “the risk of freedom”.
“May the Church, and all those who know that one day we will be accountable to God, be so audacious in our time,” he said. Relations between the United States and the Vatican have been strained since the signing, in September 2018, of a historic interim agreement between the Vatican and China on the appointment of bishops.