Pope Francis shakes palms with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken as they meet at the Vatican on Monday. (Associated Press)
The pope and the American secretary of State exchanged items and wisdoms Monday, however whether or not they mentioned the politics dividing the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. stays anybody’s guess.
Antony J. Blinken and Pope Francis talked for about 40 minutes, in line with the Vatican, and photographs that they tweeted confirmed a pleasant and intimate trade. The two mentioned local weather change, migration, the scourge of human trafficking and related points, the State Department stated. The final time a U.S. secretary of State got here right here — Michael R. Pompeo nearly a year ago — the pope didn’t grant him an viewers.
“Let me just say, on a personal level, what an honor it was,” Blinken advised reporters later. “The meeting was extremely warm and very wide-ranging. We covered a lot of ground.”
He added he was “very gratified” by the pontiff’s management on the pandemic and refugees and stated he was grateful that he didn’t should delve in U.S. home politics. He may thus may keep away from answering questions on a campaign by some U.S. Catholic bishops to disclaim President Biden — a religious Catholic — communion as a result of of his help for reproductive rights.
Blinken repeatedly referred to Francis as “his holiness,” an particularly honorific title that’s often utilized by Catholics.
Blinken, whom aides describe as a secular Jew, and Francis appeared to hit it off, as has been the case on most of the secretary’s stops this and final week in Europe, the place he’s trying to restore the harm achieved to transatlantic ties by former President Trump. Officials continuously referred to as him Tony.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, left, visits the Sistine Chapel forward of his assembly with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday. (Gregorio Borgia / Pool Photo)
Blinken additionally toured the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel earlier than his assembly with the pontiff. “The spiritual atmosphere, the divine art, and the impressive architecture left me speechless. Truly stunning,” he later tweeted.
Blinken is on every week-lengthy tour that has included Berlin, Paris, Rome and Bari, Italy. In Rome on Monday, he attended an 80-nation assembly of the the international coalition combating the so-referred to as Islamic State, the place new consideration is being targeted on the group’s recruitment efforts in Africa.
Islamic State “is very dangerous still,” Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio stated, recounting that he visited a number of African international locations in latest weeks, together with Mozambique and Mali, to gauge the extent of the unfold of the terrorist group.
“We’ve got to fight their ideology as well,” Di Maio stated.
Blinken urged international locations round the world to repatriate and, when applicable, prosecute Islamic State fighters, and their households, who’ve been captured in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Blinken is following on President Biden’s summits earlier this month with NATO, the Group of 7 wealthiest democracies and European Union companions.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.