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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

January 17, 2017. The Holy See has issued a statement Tuesday in response to "attempts by the Order of Malta to discredit” the new group established by the Vatican to conduct the investigation of why the Chancellor of the Order of Malta was asked to step down.

Pope sends condolences for victims of Turkish cargo jet crash

January 16, 2017. On Monday morning, a Turkish cargo plane has tragically crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens and hospitalizing many others. Many homes and vehicles in the small village are also destroyed. As a result, Vatican Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin has sent a message of condolences to the victims of the disaster on behalf of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis to meet with Palestinian president on Saturday

January 11, 2017. Pope Francis will meet with Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas on Saturday, January 14, at the Vatican to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

Former Director of the Vatican's school for diplomats, Justo Mullor dies

December 30, 2016. The smiling archbishop Justo Mullor died this morning in Rome, at the Pío XI Clinic. He was 84 years old.
Pope Francis

Pope approves new decrees for the Causes of Saints

December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, December 21, Pope Francis authorized the following decrees for the Causes of Saints:

The Strength of Diplomacy: John Paul II and his meetings with world leaders


John Paul II was one of the most influential people of the 20 century. With that title, comes a lot of responsibility...which includes meeting world leaders. The list is pretty long. Included is Fidel Castro

It was in 1996 that the communist leader visited the Pope at the Vatican. Then the Pope made a historic trip to Cuba in 1998, as Castro progressively loosened the restrictions against the Church and Catholics in the island. 

The tension between the Vatican and the Soviet Union, symbolically came to a close when president, Mikhail Gorbachev visited John Paul II in the Vatican in 1989. Historians agree that John Paul II played a pivotal role in the fall of Communism

Former President of the Soviet Union
 "He like no one else is critical of communism. But also at the same time, he is critical of modern capitalism. He certainly affected the atmosphere and his contribution to ending the cold war is without a doubt great.” 

Of course the Pope was no stranger to royalty. He met with Queen Elizabeth in three occasions. First in 1980, then again in 1982 and in the year 2000. 

He also strengthened the relationship between the Anglican communion and the Catholic Church by meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury, including George Carey and his successor Rowan Williams. 

When it comes to American presidents, John Paul II became the first reigning Pontiff to visit the White House. It happened back in 1979 under president Jimmy Carter. He then went on to meet with Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. 

The relationship between both states, greatly improved back in the 80's. 

Late Vatican Nuncio to the U.S.
"Then we established a very good relationship, I would even call it friendly. I would go to the White House, in the first years, I would enter a side door and bring an apostolic delegate, not officially recognized as a representative of the Pope, but then since March 1984, I entered through the main door.” 

As a way to promote inter-religious dialogue, John Paul II visited Morocco in 1985, at the invitation of King Hassan II. In doing so, he became the first Pope to officially visit an Islamic country, at the request of its religious leader. 

That dialogue was promoted over and over again in Assisi, where John Paul II called all religious leaders to promote unity and peace. Among the attendees was the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama, with whom he met several times. 

John Paul II also met with Nelson Mandela three times. The late South African president, publicly said that John Paul II deeply inspired him in the fight for racial equality. 

Back in August 2001, John Paul II met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Castel Gandolfo, as he called for an end to the tension and violence in the Middle East. 

So over the years, it became evident that these meetings with high profile leaders, were much more than just 'photo ops' or casual conversations. Above all else, they carried the weight of diplomacy from the highest religious authority in the world.