1. Rebuffed by Vatican, Pompeo Assails China and Aligns With Pope’s Critics, Pope Francis declined to see Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is demanding a harder Vatican line on China. The Holy See said meeting just before a U.S. election would be inappropriate., By Jason Horowitz and Lara Jakes, The New York Times, October 1, 2020, Pg. A13
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently published a sharp letter excoriating the Vatican’s plans to renew an agreement with the Chinese government on Church operations in China. He promoted the article in a tweet, concluding, “The Vatican endangers its moral authority, should it renew the deal.”
An indignant Vatican took the article more as a calculated affront than a diplomatic gesture. The friction broke into the open on Wednesday as Mr. Pompeo arrived in Rome and met with prelates and others who are hostile to Pope Francis, while the Vatican denied him a meeting with the pontiff and rebuffed his efforts to derail the deal with China.
“Pompeo asked to meet” the pope, who turned him down because Francis had “clearly said that he does not receive political figures ahead of the elections,” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who, as secretary of state, is the Vatican’s second-ranking official, told reporters.

Cardinal Parolin said Mr. Pompeo’s article had caused “surprise” at the Vatican, because this visit to Rome by the secretary and the meetings with high officials at the Holy See had already been in the works and would have been a “more opportune” forum for airing grievances. He added that Mr. Pompeo’s choice to publish in First Things, a conservative Christian magazine that has called Francis a failure as Pope, also mattered.
2. Pompeo and Vatican Officials Clashed over Handling Negotiations with China on Appointing Bishops, By Carol Morello, Chico Harlan and Gerry Shih, The Washington Post, October 1, 2020, Pg. A14
A diplomatic rift over how to deal with the Chinese government widened Wednesday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the Catholic Church to deploy its moral authority on behalf of persecuted believers in China.
The dispute is about an arcane negotiation over appointing Catholic bishops in China, a country the Pompeo has described as the world’s worst abuser of human rights and condemns nearly every week. But it is rooted in Pompeo’s belief that religious liberty is the foremost freedom necessary for all other freedoms to flourish.

When asked what the Holy See thought of Pompeo’s opinion piece, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s secretary for relations with states, replied: “It was received critically.”
3. Pompeo and the Pope, The secretary calls for ‘bold moral witness’ in dealing with China., By The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial
Mike Pompeo arrived in Rome Wednesday at a sensitive moment for the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is beginning talks to renew a controversial provisional agreement with China that expires Oct. 22.

The deal’s terms remain secret, but it has failed if its goal was to ensure freedom of worship.

Mr. Pompeo was asked after his speech about Vatican officials who seem to think he is attacking the church. To the contrary, he said, “I wrote that piece to honor the moral authority of the Catholic Church and its capacity to influence and make things better for people all across the world.” It is a welcome message from a U.S. Secretary of State, and the Vatican would do well to at least hear him out as it enters its latest negotiations with Beijing.
4. Vatican releases financial, budget data amid scandal, By Nicole Winfield, October 1, 2020, 7:39 AM
The Vatican released a detailed budget, balance sheet and earning statement for the first time ever Thursday as it seeks to reassure Catholics amid a corruption scandal that has exposed its shoddy financial management.
The data marked the first time since 2016 that the Vatican has released any information about its finances, despite pledges by Pope Francis from the start of his pontificate in 2013 to be more transparent and accountable.
The data showed that the Vatican bureaucracy had narrowed its deficit to 11 million euros from 75 million euros in 2018, despite a continued fall in donations from dioceses and individuals alike.
5. Parolin ‘surprised’ by Pompeo’s China rebuke, says article wasn’t right venue, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, October 1, 2020
Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, said Wednesday he was “surprised” when his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, published a Sept. 18 article criticizing the pope for his position on China, saying it wasn’t the right venue for the discussion to take place.

He also criticized Pompeo’s choice to publish his article in First Things, which has been openly critical of the pope, saying “Where things are published is also significant.”
“We know that interpretation comes not only from the text but also from the context,” he said. “Therefore, the context already tells you something regarding the intensions of the person who wrote and published this article.”
6. On China, Vatican and US risk flawed assumptions about each other, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, October 1, 2020, Opinion
The latest chapter in that incomprehension has been on display this week, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior members of the Trump administration are in Rome, in part for exchanges with their Vatican counterparts, and their disagreements over China are very much in the air.

Watching the whole thing play out, it seems possible that some of the obvious testiness is because both sides are making flawed assumptions about the other.
On the Vatican side, there appears suspicion that Pompeo and his colleagues are playing politics, trying to look tough with the pope on China in order to gain votes.
In reality, it seems clear that the ticking clock the US side hears in its head isn’t the beginning of November but the end of October, when the Vatican is set to renew its 2018 deal with Beijing over the appointment of bishops. The Americans believe it’s a pact with the Devil, causing the Vatican to go silent about Chinese atrocities and effectively handing control of the church in China to the Communist regime.
Pompeo and his allies thus have decided to launch a last-ditch effort to persuade, even cajole, Rome into changing its tune. Whatever one makes of that, it’s not only about hustling for votes. Among other things, the vast majority of Americans who’ll cast ballots probably don’t know what the Vatican’s line on China is and couldn’t care less.

As for the US side, it sometimes seems they believe the Vatican is naïve about what’s going on in China, and if they just shout loudly and often enough, maybe it’ll get through.
The thing is, figures such as Parolin and Gallagher are exceedingly well aware of the realities on the ground. Through a network of bishops, priests, missionaries and laity, the Vatican has access to boots-on-the-ground intelligence that would be the envy of any secular state, including the US.
Instead, the Vatican simply has a different diplomatic philosophy about how to cope with bad actors. Over time, they believe, engagement is a better strategy than isolation and confrontation, and that, with patience, small gains can produce big dividends.
7. Archbishop: San Francisco’s new indoor worship limit a ‘victory,’ but effort not over, By Catholic News Service, October 1, 2020
As of Sept. 30, the city of San Francisco is allowing attendance for indoor worship to be 25 percent of the capacity of a house of worship, or up to 100 people, which follows the limit set by the state of California as part of its COVID-19 safety protocols.
In a message issued late Sept. 29, after the city announced the change, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco called it “an important victory to savor and celebrate.”
However, he told the press, “this movement is not over. Our work and victories have just begun.” He thanked people of faith in San Francisco and “the thousands of others across the nation who are joining us at FreeTheMass.com,” a site where people can sign a petition posted in English and Spanish. To date, it has garnered 36,210 signatures.
8. Cardinal Pell returns to Rome as Vatican finances face scrutiny, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 1, 2020
Cardinal George Pell, who left the Vatican in 2017 to face child sexual abuse charges in Australia, returned to Rome on Wednesday to find a Holy See mired in the type of corruption scandal he worked to expose and clean up.

Pell arrived the same day that European anti-money laundering evaluators began a periodic visit to the Vatican. They, too, found a mounting financial scandal in the tiny city-state that already has cost a half-dozen people their jobs, including one of the Holy See’s most powerful cardinals, Angelo Becciu.
Pell and Becciu had long clashed over the Australian’s efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Vatican’s balance sheets.
9. Remembering an experience of God’s love in Guangzhou, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus, September 29, 2020, Opinion
It is an incontrovertible fact to me that if we are but clear-eyed enough to see it, we can watch the hand of God at work everywhere along the course of our lives. Tenderly caressing, ceaselessly guiding, carefully shielding, gently pulling — he has not left us unattended for a moment. 
He does much more than watch and accompany. To think of his role in our lives as that of a loving spectator is to say that a good mother only yearns over her infant crying in his crib, and doesn’t fly to clasp him in her arms. 
When I was a girl with a child’s shining faith, I saw God’s hand in mine as plainly as I did my pretty mother’s. Later, as the scales of life grew over my eyes, this clarity of vision mostly left me.  But (and how thankful I am for this!) there have been three occasions when a light broke upon me and I was granted a brief reprieve from my tragic blindness of spirit. The most beautiful one happened a few days after I met my youngest daughter.
I went to China to adopt a little toddler girl after almost two years of anxious waiting. Two years is a long time, especially when they are filled with great uncertainty. Are we doing the right thing? Are we going to find challenges that we can’t easily overcome? Are there better parents out there for this child than us?

If God had whispered in my heart, and in my husband’s heart, the fervent desire to adopt this pretty baby, then God would provide the grace we needed to be her good and patient parents. And when I was overcome with worry and doubt, his saving hand would lead me out of myself and to him, as he had led me from the dark and despairing night to the bright dawn of the Mass. 

I wonder sometimes how many instances of God’s loving providence pass unnoticed in the course of our lives? How many times have I chalked up some splendid gift from my Father as coincidence, or the work of my own cleverness, or sheer dumb luck?
I suppose that is one of the things that will amaze us when and if we go to heaven. We will see how he saved us here by sending us a friend to give us good advice, or there by making incontrovertibly clear to us that our enemy was just a bumbling human being like ourselves.
And we will know, finally, how the graces that flowed and gushed from the altar at each and every Mass that he called us to attend bore us up, and carried us along in a glad torrent, right to his very throne.

TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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