By: William Inboden
Two towering world leaders will visit the United States just days apart next week: Pope Frances and Chinese president Xi Jinping. The two share some notable similarities. Each presides over constituencies of about one billion people—whether one billion Chinese citizens or one billion of the world’s Catholics (and they even have some overlapping subjects in the estimated 10-15 million Chinese Catholics). They made almost simultaneous debuts on the world stage. Each ascended to his current position just one day apart in 2013: Pope Francis on March 13, and Xi Jinping the next day (though Xi had become General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party five months earlier).