The United States and the Holy See: Partners in Advancing Religious Freedom, Combatting Human Trafficking, and Promoting Human Rights
Office of the Spokesperson
October 3, 2019
Secretary Pompeo traveled to Vatican City from October 2-3, where he met with Pope Francis, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher, to mark the 35th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See, and to discuss the many ways we work together to advance peace, freedom, and development around the world. The Secretary also participated in the joint U.S.-Holy See symposium, “Pathways to Achieving Human Dignity: Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations,” which will took place on October 2 in the Apostolic Palace.
THE UNITED STATES CELEBRATES 35 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE HOLY SEE
- This year marks 35 years of formal diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See. When President Reagan established the U.S. Embassy in 1984, he said it “would exist to the benefit of peace-loving people, everywhere.” Today we share a global partnership based on common values, mutual respect, and moral leadership.
- The Holy See maintains formal diplomatic relations with 183 countries. Its influence extends to more than 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide and millions of non-Catholics as well. With a grassroots presence in almost every country in the world, the Holy See is a critical partner.
- Our relationship is as strong as ever. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Holy See to promote human rights, advance religious freedom, combat human trafficking, and seek peaceful solutions to crises around the world.
U.S.-HOLY SEE SYMPOSIUM ON FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS PLACES SPOTLIGHT ON HUMAN DIGNITY
- The United States and the Holy See appreciate and value the role of faith-based organizations in addressing some of our most important shared priorities, like advancing religious freedom, combatting human trafficking, and delivering humanitarian assistance.
- The symposium, co-hosted by the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, is a direct result of the Secretary’s July 2019 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, which aimed to reaffirm international commitments to promote religious freedom for all and produce concrete outcomes that lead to durable, positive change. The Secretary announced the symposium during the Ministerial.
- Through three high-level panel discussions, this symposium demonstrated how governments and other institutions can partner with faith-based organizations to advance and defend religious freedom, combat human trafficking, and provide humanitarian assistance.
- In addition to the Secretary, U.S. Ambassadors-at-Large Sam Brownback and John Cotton Richmond delivered remarks at the symposium on U.S.-Holy See cooperation on religious freedom and trafficking-in-persons, respectively.
- The symposium featured participation by representatives from prominent faith-based organizations, including the Community of Sant’Egidio, Aid to the Church in Need, the Adyan Foundation, the AVSI Foundation, Caritas Internationalis, and Talitha Kum. They were joined by senior U.S. and Holy See officials from across departments and agencies, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom, and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
PROMOTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM GLOBALLY IS A U.S.-HOLY SEE PRIORITY
- The protection of religious freedom is central to the Trump administration’s foreign policy and the protection of this unalienable human right is an essential part of who we are as Americans. The Holy See has long been a global champion of this universal right. Securing and defending religious freedom is a priority we both share.
- The Holy See has a long history of encouraging religious freedom and tolerance through interfaith dialogue.
WE PARTNER WITH THE HOLY SEE TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING
- The United States views human trafficking as a crime, a human rights issue, and a threat to international peace and security. Traffickers undermine the rule of law, rob millions of their dignity and freedom, and threaten public safety and national security everywhere.
- The Holy See and the United States share a common commitment to the fight against human trafficking, and the Holy See is a valued partner through its will and capacity to prevent and address this heinous crime.
THE UNITED STATES AND THE HOLY SEE ARE TWO OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST HUMANITARIAN FORCES
- The Holy See – through the agencies of the wider Catholic Church – is one of the greatest humanitarian forces in the world. It maintains a vast network, second only to the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent.
- The United States is the world’s most generous provider of humanitarian aid, but delivering that aid successfully and efficiently requires partnerships with governments like the Holy See, and organizations on the ground. By maintaining and strengthening diplomatic relations with the Holy See, the United States benefits from its unparalleled global presence.