VATICAN, December 4. /TASS/. The Vatican considers its relations with the US good and reliable, although the Holy See always had certain disagreements with Washington, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Paul Richard Gallagher said in an interview for TASS.
"One could say that the relations of the Holy See and the United States of America are good and strong since their establishment in 1984. There have always been contact points with different administrations - be it Republicans or Democrats - as well as certain differences in views and approaches. There are no doubts that the protection of human rights and religious freedoms is a priority both for the Holy See and the US. But our approaches to this matter differ somewhat," the archbishop said.
He underscored that the Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church avoid any politicization and ideologization of such an important topic.
"We had an open, friendly and constructive dialogue with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on this issue. Peace, human dignity, value of every life, human rights, and, in particular, religious freedoms have always been in the focus of the Holy See diplomacy. And we had an opportunity to confirm that to Pompeo, as well as to remind [Washington] that the Pope, various dicasteries of the Holy See and institutions of the Roman Catholic Church fight on the front lines and protect the religious freedoms," Gallagher said.
Mike Pompeo visited Vatican two months ago. At that time, after the secretary of state published an article, in which he criticized Vatican’s policy course to interact with China, including in appointing bishops, some believed that the relations between Washington and the Holy See had escalated. Speaking about China, Gallagher noted that Vatican considers the agreement a step towards the improvement of the situation with the freedom of religion.
"In relation to China, the Holy See believes in the logic of direct dialogue and small steps. Our agreement serves to improve the situation with the freedom of religion. We know that a lot of things could still be improved, but one cannot deny that this agreement yielded good results," Vatican's envoy said.
In August 2019, the Chinese authorities approved the candidacy of the head of a eparchy on its territory - for the first time since signing an agreement with Vatican. Before that, the Catholic Church in China appointed bishops on its own, without consulting with the Pope. In October, the term of this agreement, effective "on an experimental basis" was extended.