The Vatican was surprised by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's harsh words against its diplomatic position regarding China and will not change course on renewing a deal that gives both Beijing and the Vatican a say in appointing Catholic bishops in China.
Pompeo last Saturday in a conservative U.S. Catholic journal and in a series of tweets said the Vatican should not renew the deal, citing the CCP's "abuse of the faithful."
"It has only gotten worse. The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal."
Pope Francis signed off on the two-year extension of the agreement with Beijing, which allows the pope final say over the appointment of bishops in China and also permits Chinese Catholics to recognize him as leader of the universal Church.
Before the deal, the state-backed official Catholic Church in China was barred from recognizing the authority of Rome, while an underground, unofficial Church continued to do so.
"The Holy See has a unique capacity and duty to focus the world's attention on human rights violations, especially those perpetrated by totalitarian regimes like Beijing's," Pompeo wrote in "First Things."
"In the late twentieth century, the Church's power of moral witness helped inspire those who liberated central and eastern Europe from communism, and those who challenged autocratic and authoritarian regimes in Latin America and East Asia."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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