From the editor's desk

Plenty to smile about Premium

16 March 2017

The famous smile on the face of Pope Francis may become even broader when he reads the fulsome tribute to his leadership from Cardinal Vincent Nichols on the fourth anniversary of his election, thanking him for “the steadfast way you uphold the teachings of Christ and the Church”. The papal smile will be bigger still when the latest issue of America magazine reaches the Vatican, with its interview with Cardinal Nichols in which he spells out his enthusiasm for the present papacy in more detail. With opposition to him causing so much fuss in the media, Pope Francis might be thinking, the more eminent friends I have the better.

But he is not the first “smiling pope”. That title was bestowed by the international media on John Paul I almost as soon as he first appeared in public in 1978. The warmth and informality of his manner was widely interpreted as heralding a new and entirely welcome papal style, which tragically did not last long.

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