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Despite high-level interchurch closeness between pope and patriarch, on the local level "the Catholic Church still faces great challenges merely building bridges with Russian society."
Distinctly Catholic: President Donald Trump does not know how to deploy his dominance for political ends, only for celebrity status. 2017 was a grim year.
Catholic thinking is moving toward an urgent call for nuclear disarmament. That move will be highlighted as Pope Francis gathers Nobel Peace Prize winners Nov. 10-11 at the Vatican.
If the U.S. is missed in the international community, the loss may be felt in the leadership role it assumed, in spite of its flaws, fighting for human rights and the freedom of information.