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For millions upon millions of Catholics, the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth, and infallible on questions of faith and morals. Infallible or not, the Papacy has embodied a highly persuasive moral authority for thousands of years.

There has never been a time when moral leadership was more desperately needed. Our current Pope Francis could not have come to us at a more crucial moment in history. And this pontiff is special. He has a keen sense of history, politics, and yes, even science. He blends a consciousness-raising yet pragmatic worldview with a deep, heartfelt sense of compassion. He blends high intellect with a humanity embracing spirituality and ecumenism.

Just days after our President Trump, the Great Divider, enraged Muslims and delighted ISIS recruiters worldwide by declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, Pope Francis countered, praying for Peace in the Holy Land and "that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties ... that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two states ..."

As our president drops out of the world community, pours gas on the fires of religious and ethnic hatred, and plays a reckless and deadly game of nuclear checkers, Pope Francis could be a powerful force for healing. But only if folks will listen to him. "The winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline" (Pope Francis, Christmas Day blessing to the World, 2017).

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Donald or Francis? You choose.

Bob Pyfer

Helena

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