A good choice

December 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Time Magazine has announced:

But what makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church—the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world—above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.

And behind his self-effacing facade, he is a very canny operator. He makes masterly use of 21st century tools to perform his 1st century office. He is photographed washing the feet of female convicts, posing for selfies with young visitors to the Vatican, embracing a man with a deformed face. He is quoted saying of women who consider abortion because of poverty or rape, “Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?” Of gay people: “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.” To divorced and remarried Catholics who are, by rule, forbidden from taking Communion, he says that this crucial rite “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

Pope Francis has improved the image and respect for the Catholic Church in a way almost unimaginable a year ago. He is a good choice for Person of the Year.

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27 Responses to “A good choice”

  1. wikiriwhis business (3,269 comments) says:

    “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.”

    Exactly why the politicians are gong to be left for hope in God. Eyes will be opened spiritually as needs become as much spiritual as physical as many turn to Jesus Christ who promised and healed.

    The Bible predicted the times we are now in and can be completely and utterly trusted above all other ‘holy’ books that could not predict our times.

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  2. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    Thanks for another great post DPF. It appears that the good Pope is warming your heart and who knows you may embrace some Christian faith in 2013?

    For my part I do think the new Pope is amazing. Although I am not a Catholic and think some parts of Catholic theology are pretty strange, I think all people of goodwill can agree that Pope Francis has set a good example. He has a genuine concern for the poor and apparently even sneaks out at night to minister to the homeless. He genuinely looks after the weak and the vulnerable and the despised and is a great choice for man of the year in my opinion.

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  3. KiwiGreg (3,128 comments) says:

    He’s opposed to free markets and believes in sky fairies. I think he’s an evil, hypocritical, venal man.

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  4. Ashley Schaeffer (336 comments) says:

    As a former nightclub bouncer, somebody really needs to get him The Rock t-shirt “layeth the smacketh down”.

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  5. Lance (2,309 comments) says:

    Dog whistle for the haters.
    Kea, lets hear how much you hate people like this.

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  6. nasska (9,471 comments) says:

    Nice cowardly back stabbing attack on someone not in a position to reply Lance.

    Very Christian of you.

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  7. Fletch (5,712 comments) says:

    I am in two minds about it.

    One: I think it is great that the Pope is on the cover of Time as Person Of The Year.

    Two: the choices for covers in the last couple of years have been dubious (we’ve had Obama last year and in 2008, Putin was in 2007). In 2006 they had a reflective panel on the cover, and the Person Of The Year was “you”, and in 2011 it was, “the protester”.

    Still, Pope John Paul II was chosen in 1994

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  8. Fletch (5,712 comments) says:

    He’s opposed to free markets

    Not really.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/pope-francis-conservative-article-1.1544344

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  9. Fisiani (848 comments) says:

    Pope Francis seems to have captured the hearts of the world apart from the Catholic haters who will infest this post with their hatred.

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  10. kowtow (6,684 comments) says:

    How quickly the media like us to forget while they glorify their latest fad and idol.

    Francis’ predecessors are dismissed in a couple of words as police theologians.

    Yet each grew up and were formed by the most momentous events of modern history,the depression,WW2,occupation,nazism and Soviet communism.

    Each came from relatively humble backgrounds.

    JP2 was a fearless anti communist and played a huge part in the fall of communism in Poland. He was a conscript,playwright,refugee who in turn assited Jewish refugees, a restaurant worker and manual labourer.

    Ratzingers’ family were anti Nazis,a cousin was murdered by them. He himself was a conscript and POW.He too was an outspoken anti communist.

    The media are shallow merchants of feel good pap with short memories.

    Francis will not change anything to do with Church doctrine and in time the media will turn on him too.

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  11. kowtow (6,684 comments) says:

    nasska missing kea already?

    Jerkcircle minus one.Diddums.

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  12. Manolo (12,607 comments) says:

    Where is Kea, the staunch Muslim-lover, to cast opinion on this important matter?
    Banned for one month? Impossible! :-)

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  13. tas (527 comments) says:

    A good choice, but Ed Snowden would have been better.

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  14. flipper (3,261 comments) says:

    The Jesuit may be a good man.
    And unlike many of his predecessors, he may not have committed crimes against humanity.
    But , frankly, who gives a shit what “Time” magazine, circa 2013, thinks?

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  15. virtualmark (1,421 comments) says:

    The Catholic church has a right wing and a left wing. The last two popes were from the right wing of the church. John Paul I and now Francis are from the left wing. The two groups have very different outlooks, and so it’s not surprising you see this big change in behaviour as they moved from John Paul II and Benedict to this new pope.

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  16. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    the choices for covers in the last couple of years have been dubious

    Time’s Person Of The year is meant to be the person they think has had the most influence or impact regardless of whether or not their influence, actions or intentions were positive or well intentioned.

    Thus they have picked Hitler and Stalin. It is not advocacy, it is recognition of import and might serve as much as a warning than a compliment.

    Francis has certainly had an impact, and perhaps he’ll sway the Catholic church somewhat – how much is hard to predict for it is a large bureaucracy and institution with tremendous momentum. Even if he does back up his words with actions he has a body of people picked by his predecessors for their conservatism to deal with.

    What he can achieve apart from good P.R is, I think, uncertain because I think his apparently good intentions are pitted against an institution invested against them.

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  17. Alan (906 comments) says:

    He reminds me of JP the first.

    If he’s not careful he’ll end up the same way, I’d be careful about who is giving me cups of coffee

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  18. stephieboy (1,099 comments) says:

    Fletch (5,230 comments) says:
    December 12th, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Times Man/ Person of the Year is not a popularity contest but is given to anyone in their estimation has had the greatest impact internationally for better or for ill.
    Putin e.g did have a great impact on the international stage advancing Russia’s cause but the ex KBG Lt Colonel is not necessarily a nice man. The way he treats investigative Journalists testifies to that.
    But DF, again big thank you. You and Time are spot on about Pppe Franccis.

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  19. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.

    In fairness to J.P.II, he also saved quite a few Jews from the Nazis…

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  20. virtualmark (1,421 comments) says:

    RRM,

    I recommend you read David Yallop’s book “The power and the glory”

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  21. BlairM (2,265 comments) says:

    The Catholic church has a right wing and a left wing. The last two popes were from the right wing of the church. John Paul I and now Francis are from the left wing. The two groups have very different outlooks, and so it’s not surprising you see this big change in behaviour as they moved from John Paul II and Benedict to this new pope.

    Actually, it seems to me that all those Popes have been Roman Catholic.

    There was a very good article when Francis was first elected which spoke in mock shock at a bunch of very “liberal” sounding quotes from the Pope. Then the twist came at the end of the article when it turned out all the quotes came from Benedict!

    I think you’ll find that it is simply a matter of style. Popes tend to be either pastors (John XXIII, John Paul I, Francis) or theologians (Paul VI, Benedict XVI, Pius XII), or warriors (John Paul II seems to be the only modern example).

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  22. virtualmark (1,421 comments) says:

    BlairM,

    Yes, they’re all Roman Catholic and yes I agree with your categories of personal style (i.e. pastors and theologians).

    But beyond that the Catholics are a broad church that spans a range of different philosophies. There’s definitely a “right wing” that is characterised by conservative religious views, acceptance of social inequality, and support for socially conservative politics. JPII and Benedict both came from this side of the church. There were criticisms that JPII in particular was stacking the college of cardinals with candidates from this side. Benedict seemed to fit closer to the middle.

    Then there’s definitely a “left wing” that is characterised by a social justice world-view which is prepared to take more liberal religious views (e.g. on contraception and the role of women) and fight against social inequality. JPI and Francis come from this side of the church.

    There’s some interesting aspects to the history of the struggle between these two arms of the church. The right wing of the church supported the fascists during the 1930s and 1940s, mainly because the fascists were anti-communists (the enemy of my enemy is my friend …), and it was this side of the church that ran the “rat lines” by which a lot of war criminals escaped Europe for Argentina (a country where the church has/had a lot of influence). The left wing of the church is very socialistic, and was almost able to co-exist with the communists but for the communists views against any sort of organised religion.

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  23. Ruminator (18 comments) says:

    Ridiculous choice. It should’ve been Edward Snowden by a country mile. In terms of having the biggest impact on the world stage, Snowden is streets ahead. He’s caused the world to have a serious conversation about security/privacy and has caused serious diplomatic incidents around the world with his revelatioins of which foreign leaders were spying on which other foreign leaders.

    The Pope has been a Catholic.

    A good, progressive one, but his impact is limited to a religion that is shedding members.

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  24. Nukuleka (77 comments) says:

    Ruminator: “The Pope has been a Catholic.
    A good, progressive one, but his impact is limited to a religion that is shedding members.”

    Please deal in facts. The numbers of Roman Catholics in the world increases each year. INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT.

    By the by, Roman Catholicism is a denomination, not a religion. Christianity is the religion and it is the religion with the largest number of believers in the world. Far from ‘shedding members’ it also increases its numbers each year. INCONTROVERTIBLE FACT.

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  25. Harriet (4,001 comments) says:

    “….It should’ve been Edward Snowden by a country mile. In terms of having the biggest impact on the world stage, Snowden is streets ahead. He’s caused the world to have a serious conversation about security/privacy and has caused serious diplomatic incidents around the world with his revelatioins of which foreign leaders were spying on which other foreign leaders….”

    Dream on.

    History of WW1 and WW2 shows Hitler did as much too around all your ‘claims’. Stalin also after WW2.

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  26. stephieboy (1,099 comments) says:

    Its rather ironical that Snowden seeks the protection of one Putin who not only is ex KGB but has a rather notorious and nefarious way of dealing with his own whistleblowers.

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2010/11/12/high-price-journalism-putins-russia

    Hopefully Snowden will have time in the coming year to ponder this

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  27. V (660 comments) says:

    stephieboy,

    He didn’t choose Russia, it was a case of him ending up there after the US revoked his passport. In any case how about we consider how the US ‘deals’ with whistleblowers?

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