U.S. and Holy See Convene, Calling for ‘Defense of Religious Freedom’

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By Melissa Butz

The Vatican’s old synod hall hosted a U.S.-Holy See collaborated event to promote religious freedom, entitled “Pathways to Human Dignity.” 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Rome to participate in the event, which tackled how to combat human trafficking and provide humanitarian assistance worldwide. 

Global ambassadors were present, including U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich.

“Secretary Pompeo’s participation in this symposium illustrates the importance that the United States places on its diplomatic partnership with the Holy See,” Gingrich said. 

In a brief address, Mike Pompeo lamented the 80 percent of mankind who lives in places where religious freedom is threatened.

“Today, each of us must gird ourselves for another battle in defense of human dignity and religious freedom. The stakes today are arguably higher than they were even during the Cold War, because the threats to it are more diverse and more numerous,” he said. 

Pompeo specifically called on Cuba, Iran, Pakistan and Myanmar. He mentioned China when saying, “When the state rules absolutely, God becomes an absolute threat to authority.”

“We humbly ask the Holy See to join us,” he continued. “We ask the representatives of all nations present here today to join us. What could be more powerful than our voices all together, calling for the freedom to worship God?”

The event is part of the 35-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the United States.