Pope Francis + Rolling Stone Cover

Since the late 60’s isn’t a whole lot of history and tradition. But it seems significant that a pope has a first cover for The Rolling Stone. Jimmy Mac sent me the whole article. A few highlights:

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’ basic mastery of skills like smiling in public seemed a small miracle to the average Catholic.

A brutal piece of analysis:

After he became Pope Benedict in 2005, Ratzinger couldn’t seem to catch a break, and he certainly lacked the ability to apply his widely acknowledged brilliance as an academic to snuffing out fires in the real world. In 2009, a massive money-laundering scandal was uncovered at the Vatican bank… . Then came the betrayal known as VatiLeaks …

Reportedly, the tipping point for Benedict came after a trio of cardinals charged with investigating VatiLeaks submitted their report, revealing a network of gay Vatican employees and outsiders making threats of exposure. “He just didn’t have the personality or the strength to deal with everything that was happening,” one Vatican insider tells me. Shortly after Benedict shocked the world last February by announcing he’d be the first pope to resign in more than 700 years, one final indignity followed him out the door: the disclosure in La Repubblica that Italy’s largest gay bathhouse happened to be a tenant of a building owned by the Vatican.

I wouldn’t expect RS to paint the previous papacy in positive terms. But I think we realize that the shenanigans of corruption and narcissism and arrogance were present and likely remain so. I can imagine Pope Benedict coming to that realization: being surrounded by people who probably deserved to be treated the way he rendered judgment on so many theologians. And these princes primp free.

A good chunk of the American political system gets taken out at the knees:

And yet, in a stroke of what one might be tempted to call divine justice, the GOP, having played the God card so shamelessly for so many years, finds itself largely powerless to rebut the most prominent critic of income inequality on the planet. Paul Ryan, the architect of a budget proposal so regressive he drew the ire of a group of nuns, explained away Francis’ analysis by saying the pope never experienced “real capitalism” in Argentina. (Shantytowns are bad and all, but come on: Has His Holiness been apprised of the employer mandates in Obamacare?)

Two commentators weigh in. First John Thavis:

I’ve covered the Vatican for 30 years, and the reaction from the old guard to this pope is the least enthusiastic I’ve ever seen. They no longer control the game.

Thomas Reese, SJ:

The people Francis is going to have the most trouble with are the ideologues. They’re basically like the Tea Party. They’ve made up their minds. They don’t get it. And unless they go through some major conversion, they ain’t gonna get it.

Major conversion: that’s what being a Christian disciple is all about. Disciple–not just a believer.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Pope Francis + Rolling Stone Cover

  1. John McGrath says:

    I think the breaking point was that the Vatican would be facing a drilling by the UN on the church’s child abuse scandals and why there was a pervasive culture of cover up throughout the church, apparently from the Vatican on down. Giving BII’s previous post he may well have been subpoenaed to testify. As a sovereign he would have been free to ignore such a summons but he would not have been able to leave the Vatican. Admittedly while this posible “scandalous embarrassment” weighed on his mind he then got whacked with clear evidence of how corrupt things were in Vatican City. So, yes, the corruption within the Vatican could have been the last straw, but the Geneva testimony could well have been the heaviest of the weight on his soul. What was he to say. he wanted to act decisively on the abuses, but the sainted JPII blocked any attempt at that. Better he take the blame and get off the stage.

    Incidentally it seems strange that there has been no commentary about the Vatican’s having been forced to answer to a higher moral authority in Geneva, despite the Vatican’s claim to be the highest and ultimate moral authority on earth.

  2. Bill Logan says:

    The Vatican wasn’t “forced to answer to a higher moral authority.” The Vatican signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. That treaty set up a committee to periodically survey the treaty’s member states on how well they’ve implemented the treaty. So having Vatican representatives testify about treaty commitments that the Vatican made shouldn’t be strange.

  3. Geffen-Wenner-Clive Davis - A higher moral authority? Yeah!!!!! says:

    What a coincidence Pope appears on cover w/times are a changin’ gentle revolution story right over the same weekend a mass same-sex wedding takes place at the Grammys. Rolling Stone is also well known for it’s Jewish homosexual owner: Jann Wenner – see him here w/his boy toy:
    Here’s some more of Wenner’s gay Jewish Hollywood music industry buddies, David Geffen & Clive Davis, w/their boy toys and grammy parties (Whitney Houston died after one of ’em; can’t say they had a good effect on Michael Jackson either or a number of other “teen boy” stars in hollywoood):
    Seems the pope just doesn’t hang out w/Jews and homosexuals at the Vatican, but in Hollywood too!

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