Pompeo. Photo: Getty
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit the Vatican on Tuesday to protest the pending renewal of a controversial deal with China.
Behind the scenes: Pope Francis has reportedly declined to meet with Pompeo, citing the imminent U.S. election.
The big picture: The terms of the deal with Beijing are secret, but it reportedly gives the Vatican a say in the appointment of bishops in the government-sanctioned Church in China.
It's controversial for multiple reasons.
- Some critics argued that cutting a deal with the Chinese government meant selling out the many Chinese Catholics who take the risk of worshipping in non-sanctioned churches.
- Others including Pompeo contend that in order to facilitate stronger ties with China, the Church has declined to take a strong stand against China's human rights abuses.
- "The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal," Pompeo tweeted earlier this month.
Between the lines: It's highly unusual for a senior U.S. official to criticize the pope so forcefully.
Worth noting: Francis already has plenty on his plate. He removed a senior cardinal who had been viewed as a potential future pope last week over claims he embezzled Church funds, per AP.
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