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Two would-be strongmen huffed and puffed, postured and blustered on 60 Minutes Sunday night, but neither Vladimir Putin nor Donald Trump could hold a candle to the strength that Pope Francis showed America during his visit.

The Pope reminded us that real strength means faith, empathy and compassion, not name-calling, mouthing off and macho posing.

After watching Pope Francis reach out to – and reach – so many people, it was a striking contrast to contemplate Putin’s bare-chested photo ops and Trump’s ridiculous hair dye and do.

Neither of the wannabes is self-aware enough to see that their words and actions betray weakness and insecurity. Putin acts strong because deep down he knows Russia’s inner weakness. Trump talks big and loud because, deep down, there’s nothing deep about him but his pockets. And he lies about that, too.

Not that everybody loves everything about the Pope. Liberals loved the parts about climate change, the poor and immigrants, but not so much the parts about abortion, gay marriage, women in the church and the church’s sexual abuses. Conservatives, vice versa.

But his grace, smile and equanimity moved us. John Boehner wept, which was no surprise. Then he quit, which was a surprise.

You don’t have to be Catholic, you don’t even have to be a believer, to learn from the Pope. With Putin and Trump, there’s no hope. You just have to hope Russia is better than Putin. And you know America is better than Trump.

 

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