Another first: Pope Francis smiles and waves from the cover of the rock magazine Rolling Stone!
Under his name, the magazine headline in the February 13, 2014 issue reads: “The times they are a’changin’.”
Contributing editor Mark Binelli has penned an article delineating what he thinks are the most important innovations likely to be enacted during the Francis papacy. Hardly a Catholic-friendly piece, Binelli writes:
“After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares, Francis’s basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic.
But he had far more radical changes in mind. By eschewing the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment, by publicly scolding church leaders for being ‘obsessed’ with divisive social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion (‘Who am I to judge?’ Francis famously replied when asked his views on homosexual priests) and – perhaps most astonishingly of all – by devoting much of his first major written teaching to a scathing critique of unchecked free-market capitalism, the pope revealed his own obsessions to be more in line with the boss’s son.”
Well, now. There’s more. Binelli likens Pope Francis, whom he calls the “people’s pope”, to Jimmy Stewart’s character in the 1939 Capra drama “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”–an unlikely small-town hero who makes it big in the big city. He writes about the Catholic Church’s “secret sex crime files”–as though the Vatican were amassing lists of [wink-wink] pedophile miscreants who deserve a special star for bucking the system. He even, at the end of the article, describes the new pope as “brilliantly Clintonian.”
It’s a long (7,700-word) article, with many great quotes–although one of the things I most noticed about it is Binelli’s way of lining up commenters as Good [the freakin' liberals who are dancing at the very prospect of hope and change], and Bad [the Santorum-esque conservatives who have misread the times, misread the Bible, and who are about to be jolted out of their reverie]. Anyway, go and read it here.
Mark Binelli’s pope is a man made in his own image: a protestor, a counter-culturalist, an agent of change. In the long run, though, Binelli stands to be disappointed along with the feminists, the abortion-lovers, the women’s ordination crew and all who think that the Catholic Church is “finally going to change.”
The Church, folks, is still the Church; and the Pope, as all the popes before him, is going to lead it into the future with its apostolic teachings intact.
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Oh, and remember, a while back I listed some 14 magazines which had already featured Pope Francis on their cover. Here is that article.