It almost seems a divine referendum on the two living popes: the FIFA World Cup final comes down to a battle of skill between Argentina, home of Pope Francis, and Germany, birthplace of Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
The world’s press was quick to pick up on the unusual confluence of two living popes—itself a rarity—represented by their national football teams. Memes, cartoons and jokes followed. (My favorite: photo-shopped images of Benedict and Francis in national-team colored skullcaps.) Even though the bookish Benedict has demonstrated no interest in soccer and the Vatican has declared that the match falls after Pope Francis’s bedtime, Argentine fans are adding Pope Francis to their roster.
Meeting the head of the Eastern Orthodox church, the pope set a date for a third historic meeting of Christian factions—a savvy move to control how his successors lead.
After all the speculation surrounding Pope Francis’s ability to engineer peace on his big Middle East trip, the biggest news from the visit came from his visit with Patriarch Bartholomew I, the primary leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Not to gloat, but we totally called it.
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Pope Francis hoped he might help bring peace to the Middle East, but set off a firestorm over a contested holy site. Maybe he should try healing the rift with the Orthodox church instead.
Pope Francis is off on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week in search of reconciliation and peace. His tour of the Middle East includes meetings with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan, a visit to Bethlehem, trips to the Wailing Wall and the Holocaust museum, and meetings with both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Catholic tradition claims that the pope’s authority extends directly back to Saint Peter. But a new book argues Peter never even set foot in Rome.
Everyone loves Pope Francis. The statement is at this point so banal that it makes you want to stop reading here. Forget Time and Rolling Stone; President Obama is a Francis fan-boy. But if Francis’s popularity is rooted in his down-to-earth humility and man-of-the-people mentality, his authority is rooted in his position as occupant of the throne of St. Peter.
Read about the history here.
CNN will present Wolf Blitzer Reports: Popes and Presidents on Easter Sunday, April 20 at 2 p.m. ET. The 30-minute special will explore the history of the long and sometimes troubled relationship between the White House and the Vatican. Watch the promo video with part of my appearance here.
President Obama and Pope Francis’ Vatican meeting Thursday is the 28th time that a sitting American president has met with a pope. It’s a relationship that took more than a century to establish, CBS News’ Bill Plante noted.
Woodrow Wilson was the first American president to visit a pope back in 1919. He met with Pope Benedict XV after the two had already exchanged several letters regarding World War I. However, it would be 40 years before another president would visit the Vatican.
Watch me comment on the meeting here
Wolf Blitzer and Sean Kennedy have an article about the history of Papal and Presidential relations in which I am cited. It’s a forerunner to a documentary I participated in that should air around Easter.
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From David Gibson’s piece: ‘Yet as Obama confronts Republican resistance on Capitol Hill, Francis is also facing strong headwinds from church conservatives and from the infamously sclerotic papal bureaucracy, the Roman Curia. He’s had to use the power of his message — and his considerable popularity — as much as his authority to try to turn around the Vatican. “Obama would be wise to talk politics with Francis,” Notre Dame’s Candida Moss wrote in Politico. “He might be able to pick up a few pointers.”’
Late last year, when President Obama reviewed the draft of a speech he was scheduled to give on economic inequality, he sent it back with a request: He wanted his speechwriter to add a quote from Pope Francis’s recent letter to the Catholic church.
“Across the developed world, inequality has increased,” Obama said in the Dec. 4 speech. “Some of you may have seen just last week, the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. ‘How could it be,’ he wrote, ‘that it’s not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’”
The rhetoric of quotation is subtle, but in this particular round of political name-checking, Francis is the authority brought in to lend credibility to Obama’s policies.
Wednesday’s announcement of Pope Francis as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” came as small surprise to anyone watching events in the Catholic Church over the past year. This pontiff is a media darling. His charismatic and photo-op friendly ministry has won the hearts and minds of both the Catholic faithful and, clearly, the global press. Time’s editors couldn’t be more correct when they declare that Pope Francis has changed the “tone and perception” of the Catholic Church.
But do they really understand him?
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/time-magazine-pope-francis-got-wrong-101057.html#ixzz2z04wNr8Q