On Wednesday, Mike Pompeo will visit the Vatican, but he will not be able to repeat this scene. Since this is an election year, the pope wants to avoid meetings with prominent U.S. politicians, which could be interpreted as support for the candidates.
Mike Pompeo will instead meet with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, and his counterpart, Foreign Minister Paul Richard Gallagher.
The visit to the Vatican will be tense, as Pompeo said last week that “the Vatican is jeopardizing its moral authority if it renews the agreement with China.”
The Vatican has also criticized in recent months its position on Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory. According to Mike Pompeo's opinion, they are not contradicting international law, despite the fact that the UN considers the settlements a violation of legality.
The U.S. and the Vatican do share a concern for the importance of ensuring religious freedom around the world.
Despite their differences, Mike Pompeo, Cardinal Parolin and Paul Richard Gallagher will together deliver remarks at a conference organized by the U.S. embassy precisely on 'Advancing and Defending Religious Freedom through Diplomacy' on September 30.