- Jun 15, 2021
By publishing a recent article warning Pope Francis and the Vatican that their moral authority is at risk should they renew a 2018 deal with China over bishops, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo injected a sense of a high-stakes showdown to his visit to the Vatican this week.
When Pope Francis meets Donald Trump, it will be the latest chapter in a story that goes back to George Washington. The Vatican and the United States have never seen eye to eye on everything, but they both understand the important role each has to play in international affairs.
The former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See (2005-2008), Francis Rooney, says due to its stabilizing role in society, religious freedom can be used as a “soft power” weapon to deter extremist ideologies, as evidenced by Holy See diplomacy. Rooney points to the Vatican using inter-religious dialogue as a platform to nurture an exchange of ideas oriented toward finding an Islamic rationale to combat extremist ideology.
On inauguration day, Pope Francis kept up the tradition of sending a congratulatory telegram to the incoming president of the United States. “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need,” the pontiff said.
Fifteen years ago this month, President George Bush imposed a moratorium on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. It was controversial at the time, but in the years since the president’s decision has been largely vindicated.