Pope Francis will receive US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, a sign of a relaunch of relations between the United States and the Vatican after the tumultuous presidency of Donald Trump, official sources reported Friday.
Blinken, who is touring Europe, will meet at the Holy See with the pope and Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, who serves as the pontiff’s foreign minister, confirmed a spokesman for the US State Department.
Blinken is the highest-ranking member of Joe Biden’s new administration to meet with the pope, so far.
Pope Francis, who regularly speaks out in favor of fighting climate change and compassion for refugees, is expected to have a more cordial relationship with the Biden administration than with the Trump administration.
The pontiff had criticized the former US president for the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico.
He had also refused to meet with Blinken’s predecessor, Mike Pompeo, last year, shortly before the US presidential election.
Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, had criticized the pope in 2018 after an agreement that resolved a dispute between China and the Vatican over the appointment of bishops.