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Pope Francis is proving himself to be a genuinely holy man, a brilliant politician and a leader who knows that reform requires a keen understanding of how creating a better future demands sophisticated invocations of the past. Nothing demonstrated all three traits better than Francis' announcement that he would make both Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII saints.

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As The New York Times points out, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years.

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Pope Benedict's resignation shouldn't have surprised us as much as it did. As an institutionalist who believes in the Roman Catholic Church as the carrier of truth in a sinful world, he would worry a great deal about the impact of his own infirmities on the institution's capacity to thrive.

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