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Vatican City (AFP) – Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on November 25, the Vatican said on Thursday, as the Roman Catholic Church seeks to improve ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Putin has previously met the pope’s predecessor Benedict XVI as well as late pope John Paul II and there are hopes for what would be an historic meeting between a pope and a Russian patriarch.

Putin’s predecessor Dmitry Medvedev, who is now the prime minister, met with Benedict XVI in 2011.

During another visit by Medvedev in 2009, the two states re-established full diplomatic ties which had been severed during Soviet times.

Relations between Russia and the Vatican have improved since the coming to power in 2009 of Patriarch Kirill, who headed up the Russian Orthodox Church’s diplomatic arm for years.

The Russian Orthodox Church has frequently used the Catholic Church of proselytizing in Russia.

Pope Francis wrote to Putin in September as head of the G20 group of global powers to ask him to press for a political solution to the conflict in Syria without outside intervention.

AFP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, center, speaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With the Delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus surging in the United States — especially in red states with large numbers of unvaccinated Americans — Capitol physician Brian Monahan is reinstituting a mask mandate for the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is honoring that mandate, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pandering to the GOP's MAGA base, is opposed. And when Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about McCarthy's opposition, she had some scathing words for the California congressman.

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