VATICAN CITY (AP) — George Floyd’s killing at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis and the global protests that followed might normally have drawn a muted diplomatic response from the Vatican.

But from Pope Francis on down, the Vatican has instead mounted an intensive response.

It has denounced the killing and other instances of police brutality while encouraging peaceful protests.

Experts say the message in a U.S. election year suggests that Francis wants to convey a clear statement about where American Catholics should stand ahead of President Donald Trump’s bid for a second term in November.

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