Pope Francis received U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for a private audience in the papal library of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on Monday morning.
The Vatican did not release much detail about what was discussed during the 40-minute meeting on June 28, other than that the pope recalled his 2015 visit to the United States and expressed “his affection and attention to the people of the United States of America.”
It was the first visit of a Biden administration official to the Vatican since the U.S. bishops voted to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist.
The Department of State said that Secretary Blinken and Pope Francis discussed China, as well as “the humanitarian crises in Lebanon, Syria, the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and Venezuela.”
Blinken also thanked the pope for “his longstanding leadership on the need to care for the environment and tackle the climate crisis,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
Ahead of the papal meeting, Philip Reeker, the Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, told journalists that the U.S. government was seeking to work together with the Holy See to promote human rights and “to raise countries’ collective ambition and to address the climate crisis by raising and implementing national emissions reduction targets.”
He noted that the Holy See maintains an extensive formal diplomatic network and diplomatic relations with 183 countries. “So, along with the United States, one of the largest diplomatic networks, and they have a grassroots presence in almost every country in the world,” the U.S. official said.
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