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Letter from Rome: How Putin continues to play the pope

The Russian president cynically exploits Christianity for territorial aspirations

Letter from Rome: How Putin continues to play the pope

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican on July 4, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

Published: February 28, 2022 05:46 AM GMT

Vladimir Putin has been hailed by many geopolitical conservatives, including Catholics, as being the great defender of Christianity in the face of godless secularism in Europe and Islamic terrorism in the Middle East.

But after the invasion of Ukraine, one could image the pope's reaction would be something like this: "Someone who orders a bloody military invasion of another sovereign country in order to gobble up its territory is not a Christian."

But Francis has said no such thing. Let's be clear, the 85-year-old Jesuit pope has not given his blessing to Putin's vicious land grab. In fact, he broke diplomatic protocol and personally went to the Russian embassy to the Holy See to express his deep concern over the invasion of Ukraine.

And, in the last few weeks, he's made a number of very strong appeals for peace in the country.

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