PUBLISHED: 00:14, Thu, Oct 1, 2020 | UPDATED: 00:15, Thu, Oct 1, 2020
A top Vatican official has hit out at the Trump administration, accusing US politicians of exploiting Pope Francis and the Catholic Church. It followed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flying over to Italy to speak about religious freedom, as well as attacking the Vatican for its links to China. Pope Francis has frequently hit out at party politics, and has recently called for world leaders to put aside differences to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher told Italian news agency Ansa the Pope would refuse to meet with Mr Pompeo after his speech in Italy.
Archbishop Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for state relations, made the comments after being asked whether Mr Pompeo’s conference attempted to exploit the Pope ahead of the US election.
He responded: “Yes, that is precisely why the pope will not meet American secretary of state Mike Pompeo.”
Pope Francis is said to have declined to meet with Mr Pompeo because of the impending election, and did not want to appear biased.
READ MORE: Pope Francis REFUSES to meet US Secretary Mike Pompeo amid Vatican – China row
Vatican news: A Vatican official has said the US is attempting to exploit the Pope for the election (Image: PA)
Vatican news: Donald Trump sent Mike Pompeo to the Vatican ahead of the November 3 election (Image: PA)
But Mr Pompeo has also angered Vatican officials by claiming the country is soft on China’s human rights violations.
The US official has attacked the Vatican’s two-year deal with China where the two counters jointly appoint Chinese bishops, which is set to be renewed next month.
Ahead of Mr Pompeo’s scrapped meeting with the Pope, he said in an article for First Things: “What the church teaches the world about religious freedom and solidarity should now be forcefully and persistently conveyed by the Vatican in the face of the Chinese Communist party’s relentless efforts to bend all religious communities to the will of the party and its totalitarian program.”
Mr Pompeo also took to Twitter to say the CCP’s “abuse of the faithful has only gotten worse” since they signed the