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Blinken and pope hold talks at Vatican in wake of American bishops' ruling

EUROPE
By Reuters | June 28th 2021
Pope Francis meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Vatican, June 28, 2021. [Reuters]

Pope Francis has held talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was visiting the Vatican in the wake of a decision by American Catholic bishops that could lead to them denying Communion to President Joe Biden. Blinken is the highest-ranking Biden administration official the pontiff has met since the inauguration in January.

He held private talks with Pope Francis in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace after having a separate meeting with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican's foreign minister.

There was no immediate word on the details of the talks but Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the atmosphere was cordial.

The visit follows a conference at which US Roman Catholic bishops voted to draft a statement on Communion that may admonish Catholic politicians, including Biden, who support a woman's right to abortion despite opposing the practice personally.

The bishops decided to move forward with the document, mostly disregarding a Vatican warning that it would be highly divisive.   

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