Blinken and Pope meet in Vatican over bishops’ decision
VATICAN CITY, June 28 (Reuters) – Pope Francis met with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday, who was visiting the Vatican following a decision by U.S. Catholic bishops that could lead them to deny Communion to President Joe Biden.
Blinken is the most senior official in the Biden administration the pontiff has met since the investiture in January.
He had private talks with Pope Francis at the Vatican Apostolic Palace after having a separate meeting with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican Minister of Foreign Affairs.
There was no immediate news on the details of the talks, but Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the atmosphere was cordial.
The visit follows a conference in which U.S. Catholic bishops voted to draft a communion statement that could scold Catholic politicians, including Biden, who support a woman’s right to abortion despite his opposition personal to practice. Read more .
The bishops decided to go ahead with the document, mostly ignoring a warning from the Vatican that it would be very divisive.
Bruni said the meeting “was an opportunity for the Pope to remember his 2015 trip (to the United States) and to express his affection and concern for the people of the United States of America.”
The Vatican and the Biden administration agree on the dangers of climate change, which was a main point of contention with the White House while Donald Trump was president.
Trump scorned the problem by dismantling fossil fuel climate policies and regulations.
The Pope criticized Trump’s withdrawal from the United States of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit global warming. The Vatican has hailed Biden’s return to the deal.
Francis, who received Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry in May, urged nations to work together to save the planet.
Humeyra Pamuk reporting from Rome; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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