Pope Francis cements reputation for deft diplomacy

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By personally inviting the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican to pray with him together for peace, Pope Francis has seized an unusual diplomatic initiative. Bypassing the Secretariat of State, his often protocol-obsessed ministry of foreign affairs, he has effectively downgraded the formal machinery that normally conducts Vatican foreign policy, in favour of a dynamic new personal diplomacy. The invitation was to visit “my home in the Vatican”. Pope Francis has chosen as his home not the sprawling papal penthouse at the top of the imposing and…

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