Don’t overlook the biggest detail of pope’s Ukraine gesture

I was surprised to find that the great part of a story on, “Pope visits Russian embassy to show concern over ‘war’ in Ukraine” by Elise Allen of Crux, focused on Vladimir Putin's behavior, and seems to portray the pope’s visit as an occasion to prompt the commentary. 

It missed one very important event: Pope Francis stepped on Russian soil! He has been known to want to visit Russia. Now he did, just like Pope Pius IX had stepped on American soil almost two centuries ago when he boarded an American ship in Gaeta. 

Pope Francis, in his usual way of dismissing rigid protocol, went quietly to the Russian Embassy with a message of love, caring, and encouraging peace. Many of us already know the ongoing misdeeds of Putin. This visit was a historical papal act and something to celebrate and diffuse, rather than overlook.

— Msgr. Larry Spiteri, Vatican City

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