Buckle Up, People: The Pope’s Brilliant Move

What a guy. He really knows how to wield that influence in all the right ways. He says the right things, and while some friends have put forth the notion that he’s building an image, I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he really means good, and is using his power to make things right. That his image and reputation is soaring, is merely a consequence of his brilliant actions.

I may be an atheist, but I can respect a man who uses his influence to do good. You go save the world, Pope Francis!

TIME

Pope Francis is proving himself to be one of the most powerful leaders in the world.

On Sunday, he arrived in Bethlehem and made an unexpected stop that surprised everyone: en route to mass in Manger Square, he halted the popemobile and caused a chaotic flurry of press, security, and onlookers as he walked over to the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Beneath the graffiti scrawled “Bethlehem,” he reached out, placed his hand on the wall, and prayed.

Only a Holy Father like Francis could pull off this kind of stunt. One small gesture, and the Israeli military in the watchtower above and the Palestinian people below were all at his mercy. He rendered all sides powerless by drawing them into his service, the most counterintuitive service of prayer.

To top it all off, during his sermon at mass, Francis made a historic invitation: “In this place…

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