The Bear still can't get over the photos coming out of the papal audience. Obama looks like a cardboard cutout or wax figure, his big smile only highlighting the emotional disconnect of the tableux. Kerry has assumed a jaunty pose: knee bent, shoulder dropped. You expect him to break out into a tap dance number. It is just weird.
And Pope Francis, "the fluffiest pope evah," as Fr. Z says, glowering.
Pope Francis is clearly learning the power of "optics," that impressions trump substance. He is not going to give Obama his "Cardinal Dolan Bump" when his administration is so openly hostile to the Catholic faith. He has learned a hard lesson about how the press can spin perceptions. This is Francis the head of the Vatican state, the Pope of the Catholic Church, who is aware of the spiritual dimension of geopolitics in a way that recalls John Paul II.
The Bear wonders if Pope Francis sees things a little differently from when he breezed into the papacy as the Bishop of Rome. A humble Bishop of Rome he may be, but all roads still lead there, and even the pope cannot change that.