(GUARDIAN) — Chatham House is one of the most important foreign affairs thinktanks in the UK. But on Wednesday its focus will not be a president, or an organisation like the World Bank, or the future of the EU after Brexit, but a religious leader: Pope Francis. And it will be the third time in recent weeks that Britain has turned its attention to the pope.
Two weeks ago, the Foreign Office-sponsored thinktank Wilton Park took delegates to the Vatican to meet the pope and discuss violent religious extremism, while last week the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, was in Rome to talk with Francis about modern slavery.
This engagement confirms the pope as one of the leading figures of the age. It will be five years on 13 March since the then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was elected leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics, following the shock resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
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