Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pope Francis Makes Cover of Rolling Stone

By Dylan Stableford

Note: This article was first published January 28, 2014 by Yahoo News.

Pope Francis — Bishop of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, His Holiness — has another title to add to his papal résumé: Rolling Stone cover subject.

The pope graces the cover of the iconic music magazine this week for a "The Times They Are A-Changin':
Inside the Pope's Gentle Revolution
," a 7,700-word profile by contributing editor Mark Binelli, who went inside the Vatican to report on Francis' break from tradition, less than a year since he was installed as leader of the [Roman] Catholic Church.

"In less than a year since his papacy began, Pope Francis has done much to separate himself from past popes and establish himself as a people's pope," Binelli writes.

More from the profile:

Surprising desk clerks at the hotel where he'd been staying during the papal conclave by showing up to pay his own bill; panicking bodyguards by swigging from a cup of maté (the highly caffeinated tea-like beverage popular throughout South America) handed to him by a stranger during a visit to Brazil; cracking up cardinals with jokes at his own expense hours after being elected (to those assembled at his first official dinner as pope, he deadpanned, "May God forgive you for what you've done").

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. 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' son.

Francis has been on other major magazine covers, including Time magazine, which declared him its 2013 Person of the Year last month. (It was the second time in a year Time ran a pope cover.)

But never Rolling Stone, the so-called "music bible" founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner.

Not surprisingly, Francis is the first pope to make the cover of Rolling Stone — something bands including the Velvet Underground, Public Enemy, Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine each failed to do.

Related Off-site Links:
The Trouble with Francis: Three Things That Worry Me – Mary E. Hunt (Religion Dispatches, January 6, 2014).
New Pope, New Hope – Joseph S. O'Leary (Joseph S. O'Leary Homepage, January 28, 2014).
Correcting the "Theology of Women" That Currently ExistsQuestions from a Ewe (January 26, 2014).

See also the previous PCV posts:
"Healing Message" from Pope Francis Provokes Conservative Outrage
Pope Francis is Going to Be Heard
The 'Francis Effect': Five Ways the Pope is Resuscitating the Catholic Church
Conservative Catholics Question Pope Francis' Approach
Local Catholics Respond to Pope's Interview
The Pope's Radical Whisper
Pope's Reform Path: Francis Shakes Up Church Establishment
A Humble Pope in An August Office
Waiting for Francis to Reform the Curia? He Already Has
Reflections on a New Face


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Please note our comment procedure: You MUST use a REAL NAME when you comment. "Anonymous" is no longer acceptable, nor are monikers. We don't need your last name or your email address, but we do require a FIRST NAME at the very least. Plan on having your comment deleted if it isn't a real name.