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Vatican declines Pompeo's request for audience with Pope Francis, citing papal election policy

Vatican declines Pompeo's request for audience with Pope Francis, citing papal election policy
Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 14:00:12-04

ROME — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's diplomatic trip to the Vatican will end without an audience with Pope Francis.

The Vatican declined his request to see Pope Francis, citing a routine policy to not grant papal audiences during election campaigns.

Pompeo spent 45 minutes in the Apostolic Palace with his Vatican counterpart, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Vatican foreign minister a day after tensions over the Holy See’s outreach to Beijing spilled out in public.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said both sides “presented their respective positions” about relations with China in a climate of “respect, openness and cordiality.”

The State Department said they discussed defending religious freedom. Pompeo has criticized the Vatican's 2018 agreement with Beijing on nominating bishops.