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Rome Reports

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“The U.S. has recognized the Holy See's unprecedented role in China's integration”

Mike Pompeo made a public statement directed at the Vatican, asking the Holy See not to negotiate with China; he even traveled to Rome to meet with Pietro Parolin. It may appear that relations between the Holy See and the United States are going through a difficult moment, but that is not the case.

Francesco Sisci, an expert on international politics, points out that the United States has publicly launched a clear message.

China's People's University
“He said the Holy See is important in maintaining political, cultural, spiritual and global equilibrium. It's a very important acknowledgement, and I think it's without precedent in the history of the United States.”

That's why Mike Pompeo's declaration on negotiations between the Vatican and China shows that for the United States, the Holy See plays a key role in the integration of China in the world.

China's People's University
“In the last 40 years, the world, guided by the United States, has tried to integrate China through commerce. However, commercial and economic integration is not enough. It's not the final answer. Another type of integration is needed—I would say a cultural one. China must understand the culture with which the rest of the world functions. That's why the relationship with the Vatican, the oldest Western institution, can be extremely important.”

Francesco Sisci praises the Holy See's strategy and notes that the deal it negotiates with China is not diplomatic, but pastoral.

China's People's University
“It's not a diplomatic agreement because the Vatican hasn't recognized Beijing, and neither does Beijing seem to want that. It knows that a diplomatic agreement would further isolate Taiwan, and that Taiwan could then become nervous and react dangerously. I think the Holy See's strategy is very wise and prudent. It doesn't yield, and at the same time, it seeks to maintain the ties that sustain this complicated relationship. That's why Pompeo's visit was very important. It signals that this relationship is not only with the Vatican, but with the whole world.”

He also observes that the agreement on Chinese bishops wasn't a sporadic initiative recently promoted, but that the Holy See has been working for years to open itself to China, though progress has been minuscule.

Javier Romero

Translation: CT