Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. student Aaron Bateman on why the pope is directly engaging tech companies. 

Pope Francis will receive in private audience Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tomorrow, the latest meeting in a flurry of Holy See diplomatic activity concerning the Middle East and China. […] The Pope and Holy See diplomats will probably try to use the occasion of Rouhani’s visit to help defuse tensions between the two Muslim-majority countries.

Pope Francis held a private meeting with South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Friday, pushing for peace in the world's newest nation that has endured nearly two years of civil war, a Vatican spokesman said.

Following his speech [to Congress], Pope Francis has reportedly chosen to skip a number of invitations to dine with members of congress, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Instead, he has opted to spend his lunch both serving, and eating with members of Washington’s homeless community.

November 2, 2014

The pope comes to the table with “no threats, no bullets, no drones.” The head of the Catholic Church is the ultimate example of soft power.

While the political influence of the Vatican might be limited to public diplomacy, the spiritual influence has great significance for millions of Christians around the world. Consequently, the pope has always had a great impact on global peace and security...Indeed, I hope that Pope Francis will renew the Catholic-Muslim Forum with new energy and commitment to the spirit of the A Common Word Initiative which Pope Benedict XVI helped begin.