The Urban Pontificate

Pope Francis | giulio napolitano /

It’s easy to forget that the Pope wears many hats (or, should I say many miters?). In addition to heading up the richest institution in the world, he moonlights as de facto mayor of Vatican City and head of the local Catholic diocese. So while he’s the head of a global religion, he’s also a big fish in the urban pond of Rome.

Until Pope Francis, the Vatican’s secondary role as a major civic institution flew under the radar of...

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