(WASHINGTONTIMES) — It’s not quite a gift from God but, politically, it may be the next best thing.

President Obama increasingly is finding a key policy ally in the Vatican, with Pope Francis standing virtually shoulder to shoulder with the White House on income inequality and a historic diplomatic reboot with communist Cuba. The pontiff next year also appears poised to offer greater support to the president on climate change initiatives and reportedly wants to be a leading voice at a U.N. global warming summit next year, where the American president will make perhaps his greatest pitch to date for more dramatic action on the environment.

For Mr. Obama and fellow Democrats, aligning with Francis offers clear benefits in the short term, as they are able to highlight agreement on controversial issues with one of the most respected figures on the planet.

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