- Jan 28, 2020
Popes often use meetings to make statements, and that’s what Pope Francis is doing on Saturday by sitting down with victims of anti-Christian persecution from Nigeria and Pakistan.
When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pope Francis meet today, the two leaders will find plenty of common ground, including their opposition to the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but in other ways it’s a study in contrasts.
On Nov. 10-11 the Vatican will host a summit on creating a world free of nuclear weapons, with the participation of 11 Nobel Peace prize laureates, representatives from NATO, Russia, the United States, Iran and South Korea among others, as well as bishops and members of various Catholic institutions. Pope Francis joins every pope since Pius XII to advocate for the abolition of atomic arsenals.
Sometimes on the Vatican beat in a given week, what you get isn’t one grand narrative but lots of little ones. This was one of those weeks, so here’s a potpourri of nuggets on contrasting antidotes for different diseases, counter-intuitive patron saints, and what to make of papal press conferences in terms of the pontiff’s own personal priorities.
At first blush, a ceremony taking place in Italy’s Palace of the Army today may seem counter-intuitive, as St. Pope John XXIII, a famous “Peace Pope,” is being installed as the patron saint of the Italian army. In fact, however, for reasons both biographical and philosophical, John XXIII actually may be the perfect patron for the kind of army Italy operates today.
Though comparisons with North Korea’s threat to fire ballistic missiles near Guam and the Cuban Missile Crisis may be premature, the anxiety level is undeniable. The situation evokes memories of a pope in many ways cut from the same cloth as Francis, St. John XXIII, who helped prevent a nuclear war with a timely and passionate appeal for peace.