Time's Person of the Year 2013
December 11, 2013 5:37 AM   Subscribe

"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century." Pope Francis, "The People’s Pope," is Time's 2013 Person of the Year.

Time's shortlist for the year included Edward Snowden ("The Dark Prophet"), Edith Windsor ("The Unlikely Activist"), Bashar Assad ("The Lethal Tyrant"), and Senator Ted Cruz ("The Barn Burner").

Time spent an earlier part of the week taking ridicule over their announcment that the candidates were on a "finalist" list of ten people that included Miley Cyrus.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (193 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I quite like the current regeneration of the Pope. I hope this one is around for a few seasons of the show.
posted by hippybear at 5:44 AM on December 11, 2013 [102 favorites]


He's like the Catholic Obama. A change of figurehead does wonders for PR.
posted by spitbull at 5:48 AM on December 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


That Miley Cyrus was in the running should tell you how relevant Time Magazine is and, subsequently, how worthy they are to make a post about here.
posted by picea at 5:49 AM on December 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


If it wasn't going to be Snowden, I'm ok with the award going to this new Pope. Personally it's just nice not having to worry or feel anxious about winning anymore since I won back in 2006.
posted by Auden at 5:50 AM on December 11, 2013 [30 favorites]


1. "Dark"?
2. "Unlikely"?
3. Ted Cruz?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:50 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Clocked time of joke in 2007: 2:00
Clocked time of joke in 2008: 9:00
Clocked time of joke in 2009: 13:00
Clocked time of joke in 2010: 3:00
Clocked time of joke in 2011: 1:00:00
Clocked time of joke in 2012: 4:00
Clocked time of joke in 2013: 13:00
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:52 AM on December 11, 2013 [176 favorites]


As far as popes go he's a good 'un.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:53 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Clearly Time is unfamiliar with an actual dark prophet. (takes Holocaust Cloak out of storage)
posted by selfnoise at 5:54 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was talking to a friend of mine (American, like me, and pretty young), who converted to Catholicism in college and was devout enough to travel an hour each Sunday to hear Latin mass. She mentioned offhand that she didn't like the new pope, and I started to be all "oh man really, seriously? Like how come?" but was quickly shushed by our other friends. I wish I could have talked to her about it more, she's perfectly happy to hang out with atheists and gay people and such, I've never gotten a vibe from her of judgement or disrespect, so I really wonder what her perspective is.

As thrilled as I personally am with the new pope, I find it's important to remember that abortive conversation and realize that many, many Catholics are not on board with this- not just high-ranking church political opponents, but regular, conservative Catholics. (I certainly know more Catholics who love him, but I do live in NYC...)
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think XQUZYPHYR makes these threads just so they can do the clocked time of joke comment. It's a tradition!
posted by Think_Long at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


"The Dark Prophet"? That's my favorite 2nd edition AD&D module!
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


TIL that Pope Francis is the first pope to take an "original" papal name (i.e. one that had not been used by a previous pope) since the super-smooth Pope Lando in 913.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:56 AM on December 11, 2013 [38 favorites]


Time played it safe with Pope Francis. By what I've seen, yeah, nice guy, saying and doing the right things, but come on. Snowden showed us how things really are, and how they're going to be for the foreseeable future. If that's not important, what is?
posted by KHAAAN! at 5:57 AM on December 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


Well... It's a joke best told 13 minutes in.
posted by Auden at 5:57 AM on December 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


KHAAAN!:
If that's not important, what is?
Being the OWS Pope?
posted by charred husk at 5:59 AM on December 11, 2013


The adjective-noun structure of 3/4 of the post's runners-ups' epithets had me wondering what "barn" meant and what Ted Cruz had burnt.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:00 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think XQUZYPHYR makes these threads just so they can do the clocked time of joke comment.

I have no idea why these cats are Time's Person of the Year or why
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:01 AM on December 11, 2013 [31 favorites]


Snowden showed us how things really are, and how they're going to be for the foreseeable future. If that's not important, what is?

The Pope showed us how things have been and is actively taking steps to ensure that won't be how things are. That's what's more important than Snowden.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 AM on December 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


As thrilled as I personally am with the new pope, I find it's important to remember that abortive conversation and realize that many, many Catholics are not on board with this- not just high-ranking church political opponents, but regular, conservative Catholics. (I certainly know more Catholics who love him, but I do live in NYC...)

I don't know that people who travel an hour for mass in Latin are representative of even conservative Catholics.
posted by hoyland at 6:06 AM on December 11, 2013 [32 favorites]


Seems like a good choice. The fact that the leader of one of the world's biggest religions is more interested in helping people than worrying about what they're doing in the bedroom is a good thing.


Other than visits to the dentist, this is the only time of the year that I even remember that Time still exists.
posted by octothorpe at 6:06 AM on December 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have no idea why these cats are Time's Person of the Year or why

This Pontiff... it vibrates?
posted by escabeche at 6:08 AM on December 11, 2013


This makes sense.

I appreciate the criticisms that much of what Pope Francis has been saying isn't nearly as new as some people are making it out to be. For example, the Church's opposition to unfettered capitalism is old hat. This is not a criticism of the Pope, so much as it is a criticism of the media and his audience, who may come away thinking that Francis is the first Pope to be concerned with social justice.

However, Pope Francis has a focus and a style that seems entirely new, at least for this day and age.

And you know what? Style matters.

...

No, the Church is not some liberal-progressive institution, but in a way, it may be even more important to have yet another voice added to the political fray. At least in the US, we need to smash the preconception that "conservative" entails social conservatism, religious piety, and a unwavering faith in the free market. The current American model, in which piety and Ayn Rand walk hand in hand, is an accident of history, and not a cultural mandate. Pope Francis may not be a distributist, but he is showing another way. He reminds us that there's nothing inherently conservative about "every man for himself".

It's also interesting to consider Francis' focus on "family values". I don't envision Francis making huge inroads on LGBT* and reproductive rights. However, we do see him pointing out that an overt focus on those issues is a form of modern pharisaism. Don't like the gays? Well, good for you. Get back to work being a decent person, he says.

It's not a major step forward in the grand scheme of things, but that is a fundamental shift of priorities, and it reframes the argument for future discussions.

...

Of course, with regard to the US, what the Pope says won't impress Protestants. However, IIRC Catholicism is still the single biggest denomination in the country, and I would think that the growing Hispanic population would only further cement that fact. (Yes, many Hispanics are not Catholic, but a sweeping majority of them are.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


Other than visits to the dentist, this is the only time of the year that I even remember that Time still exists.

Time is just, like, a mental construct, man.
posted by swift at 6:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah for me it was either gonna be Snowden or who cares about Time Magazine? You know how that conversation went in Joe Ripp's conference room.
posted by spitbull at 6:09 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


IIRC Catholicism is still the single biggest denomination in the country, and I would think that the growing Hispanic population would only further cement that fact.

I think it's Southern Baptists first, then Catholics.
posted by hoyland at 6:10 AM on December 11, 2013


He's no Stephen VII, but, really, that's a good thing.

On the other hand, I am sad that we haven't had a Calixtus in over 500 years, but, then, the Borgias ruined everything.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:12 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Time played it safe with Pope Francis. By what I've seen, yeah, nice guy, saying and doing the right things, but come on. Snowden showed us how things really are, and how they're going to be for the foreseeable future. If that's not important, what is?

Enh, one could argue that Snowden would be a similarly safe pick. This old Žižek article about Assange more or less applies to Snowden. He produces these revelations, but they don't actually surprise many people, and they don't necessarily spur much further action.

...

I think it's Southern Baptists first, then Catholics.

Not according to Wikipedia. 68.5 million Catholics, 16 million Southern Baptists. There are more Protestants in the US than Catholics, but the Protestants are divided by sect.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:15 AM on December 11, 2013


I don't know that people who travel an hour for mass in Latin are representative of even conservative Catholics.

Agreed - "still goes to Latin Mass" is kind of starting to edge into "roll back everything that Vatican II made happen" territory there. Not quite "Mel Gibson's Dad" territory yet, but in the same county, maybe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 AM on December 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


And I agree with this. The Person Of The Year is the person who actually impacted the news in the biggest way - and sadly, while Snowden should have had an impact on the news, he actually didn't. He released some information, and...nothing happened. But that's not Snowden's fault, and is not any reflection on the importance of Snowden's actions.

Whereas Pope Francis...well, right out of the gate he was a game changer, just by virtue of being Pope. And his even being pope was novel, as he was the first Jesuit Pope and the first Pope from the Western Hemisphere as opposed to being an old guy from Europe. And it's early yet, but the things he's said and done so far have been already changing the playing field for the Catholic church rather a lot - and it's making a lot of people think that "damn, he's gonna do some major stuff here."

Also, Snowden's documents only concerned policies for one nation in the world. Pope Francis' doctrines concern people who are citizens of several countries in the world.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [7 favorites]



Other than visits to the dentist, this is the only time of the year that I even remember that Time still exists.
posted by octothorpe at 9:06 AM on December 11

Time is just, like, a mental construct, man.
posted by swift at 9:09 AM on December 11


...Or a dental construct.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:26 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that Pope Francis is closer to his mandate as pope and also to his followers than any pope in my nearly fifty years. Whether you like love or loathe Catholicism or religion in general it is influential - and I think Francis is an improvement over past popes. I like him.
posted by vapidave at 6:27 AM on December 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Quote from a thread over on Reddit:
For those curious, I have a friend who worked at Time magazine for many decades and I asked him once how they choose the Person of the Year. He said that while on paper they claim to ask everyone who works there and such, in actuality a board of editors/managers/etc go into a conference room and try to figure out the sweet spot of "person it seems plausible we chose, but is still slightly controversial so we can sell a lot of issues." (Presidential election years are almost boring, as whoever wins is virtually guaranteed to get it.) I'm guessing, based on that, it came down to Snowden vs Pope Francis and the board decided there are a lot of Catholics who were going to buy the magazine if he was on the cover... and older people who are more likely to buy magazines.
posted by KHAAAN! at 6:29 AM on December 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


Maybe my understanding of the theological status of Pope is flawed. But how can serious dogmatic Catholics who really believe the Pope is God's ordained representative on earth possibly work up the hubris to dislike him? Isn't that basically equivalent to saying you think God made a bad choice, or a mistake?

Like I said, my understanding of this could be flawed, because obviously there have been some pretty awesome activist nuns under conservative popes.
posted by erlking at 6:30 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Other than visits to the dentist, this is the only time of the year that I even remember that Time still exists.

Don't have time to Google it now but if anyone actually has on hand the stats about how well the POTY issue sells versus the rest of the year, I'd love to know. I'm curious if it's like Sport Illustrated-level ratios, like outselling all other issues 10-1 or whatever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:30 AM on December 11, 2013


Not all Baptists are Southern Baptists, not even all really conservative Baptists, so that also throws things off if it seems small compared to the influence--a lot of the very conservative churches do not like being members of denominational groups because it means they generally have to accept guidance from a larger body and they don't like doing that. Protestantism is really splintered.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the Pope has no impact at all on Protestantism. While there are some people who are very anti-Catholic still, I've certainly heard arguments couched in terms of "even the Catholics agree with this" before, and for example a lot of the recent birth control/abortion stuff has really required the participation of both groups to be viable. A lot of Protestants still want to think that their principles, whichever they are, are universally Christian and not just the principles of the Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879.
posted by Sequence at 6:31 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


As long as the Pope and the Catholic Church maintain that women are inferior to men, I don't give any props. This is basic stuff.
posted by agregoli at 6:33 AM on December 11, 2013


Miley Cyrus ("Twerking Class Hero")
Miley Cyrus ("The Unlikely Distractivist")
Miley Cyrus ("The Most YouTubiquitous")
Miley Cyrus ("An Organ-Grinder For Our Time")
posted by oulipian at 6:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Church is hierarchical, but not uniform. While the Pope has a certain amount of control (especially over the non-biblical elements of the Church) his word is not the beginning and the end. The Church body (the lay-persons) have a great deal of clout and can influence the Pope and the hierarchy to a considerable degree.
posted by oddman at 6:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's Southern Baptists first, then Catholics.

Maybe in the South...
posted by Sys Rq at 6:35 AM on December 11, 2013


Snowden changed an awful lot, Sticherbeast.   Examples : Google, etc. are at least hardening their networks so the Feds much actually send NSLs. CyanogenMod integrated TextSecure yesterday. etc.

There is little point moaning about publications like Time not choosing Snowden, obviously they don't want to piss off government officials too much, and the Pope probably sells more magazines.

Snowden wins Sam Adams award
Jacob Appelbaum accepts Whistleblower Award for Edward Snowden
posted by jeffburdges at 6:40 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


how can serious dogmatic Catholics who really believe the Pope is God's ordained representative on earth possibly work up the hubris to dislike him? Isn't that basically equivalent to saying you think God made a bad choice, or a mistake?

Mmm, they kind of take God out of the equation by rationalizing it as "that couldn't have been who God really wanted." The real wing-nuts of conservative Catholicism, the Sedevacantists, believe that the power structure in the church has been so corrupt that you can't trust any of the Popes they've picked since the early '60's, so they just plain don't acknowledge the Popes as Pope. (The term "sedevacantist" comes from the Latin for "vacant seat," and that's their way of saying that the Papal seat has been "empty" all this time because the guys that the Vatican put up don't count.) Then you have the guys who also think that the power structure in the Vatican is corrupt, but grudgingly accept the popes as pope; they just don't think God had a hand in making the choice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe my understanding of the theological status of Pope is flawed. But how can serious dogmatic Catholics who really believe the Pope is God's ordained representative on earth possibly work up the hubris to dislike him? Isn't that basically equivalent to saying you think God made a bad choice, or a mistake?

A Catholic could give a better answer, but basically it boils down to 1) Catholics are people, 2) the Pope is not divine, and 3) papal infallibility is an extremely narrow and widely misunderstood dogma.

Catholics are people. People often disagree with their leaders, and the leaders of organizations to which they belong. This needs no further explanation.

The Pope is not divine. The Pope is just...the Pope. The Pope is just the servant of the servants of God. Is he important? Of course. But, is he anything more than a man? No.

As for papal infallibility, this is often misunderstood to mean that the Pope is never wrong. This is not the case. Papal infallibility only kicks in within certain contexts. The Pope is free from error only "when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church". So, when you look at when papal infallibility has been invoked, you see that it has only covered a fairly narrow set of issues, all relating to Church-specific issues.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:42 AM on December 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Good choice, IMHO. I do look forward to him putting his actions where his words are, though. Let's see the Church come down hard on ignoring poverty. Let's see him advocate for women and for choice and for LGBT people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:42 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


As long as the Pope and the Catholic Church maintain that women are inferior to men, I don't give any props.

This is actually something that Francis is working on as well. He is kinda stubborn on the point of women becoming actual priests, but the role of women in general is something he's definitely working on.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on December 11, 2013


When you have Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Palin going on about the Pope's liberal agenda you know you've fallen through the looking glass. At least Palin admitted she had it wrong in a wishy-washy appypollyloggy.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:45 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion"

Sometimes when people make religions claiming they speak for God, they start speaking nonsense and no one can call them on it. It's all follow the leader and explaining oneself with gibberish that can't be countered because it's all washed over with "You just have to believe!"

In any case, I like him more than other priests and as a fan of harm reduction, I hope his extremely slow steps forward in such a backward institution will help guide a few people closer to valuing social justice and human welfare.

I still think even religious people ought to revert to an ethical system based on human welfare rather than human made doctrines accepted based on claims of connection to the divine. ("Look, strange women lying on their backs in ponds handing out swords ... that's no basis for a system of government!") If your ethical system is compassionate it will line up with human welfare. A compassionate God would want that. If you made up a god that is not compassionate, maybe you're either wrong, or you're worshiping the wrong god.
posted by xarnop at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2013


As long as the Pope and the Catholic Church maintain that women are inferior to men, I don't give any props.

The selection was for good guy Jorge Bergoglio, not for the vast corporate empire he finds himself running. It's not as if he could just send out email Friday morning declaring women and men now 100 percent equal in all ways in the eyes of the church and that's that. He's got a big hand on the rudder, but there are many little hands still pushing the other way.
posted by pracowity at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


He is kinda stubborn on the point of women becoming actual priests, but the role of women in general is something he's definitely working on.

So separate but equal?

Just like I don't understand gays and minorities in the Republican party, I don't get women in the Catholic church. Leave. Move on. Raise your kids in a different manner. This problem would correct itself. Instead we get institutionalize oppression that the oppressed get to participate in. Yay? Not Catholic, not Republican, so I guess I don't need to "get it."
posted by cjorgensen at 6:48 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


He's got a big hand on the rudder, but there are many little hands still pushing the other way.

He doesn't have a hand on the rudder. He is the rudder.

If he made a papal decree there would be women priests tomorrow and the church would survive.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:52 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's worth pointing out that as a group American Catholics are far less conservative than their religious leaders or the most vocal Catholic activists are. Most active Catholics in the US support same-sex marriage and the ordination of women and the majority of Catholics voted for Obama in both elections.
posted by octothorpe at 6:53 AM on December 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


A Catholic could give a better answer, but basically it boils down to 1) Catholics are people, 2) the Pope is not divine, and 3) papal infallibility is an extremely narrow and widely misunderstood dogma.

I addition tot he theological reasoning, in actual function the Catholic Church accommodates a lot of local traditions, whether it's American archbishops and parishioners drawing on elements of American Protestantism, liberalism, or conservatism; or Latin American parishioners venerating syncretic figures like Santa Muerte and San Pascualito. The latter are officially condemned by The Catholic Church, but nonetheless a big part of being Catholic for a lot of coreligionists.

If it wasn't going to be Snowden, I'm ok with the award going to this new Pope.

I think strong cases might be made for John Boehner, Xi Jinping, Angela Merkel, or Bashar Aal-Assad as major players in the biggest news stories of the year. Their actions are likelier to have big long-term consequences for the world, and they connect to a number of news stories of global importance. Of course, they wouldn't sell as many magazines.
posted by kewb at 6:54 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever other things are going on, I think it interesting that, unlike his predecessor, people almost never seem to use his pre-papal name Bergoglio. "Ratzinger" was still used kind of all over the place all through Benedict's papacy.
posted by chimaera at 6:55 AM on December 11, 2013


I kinda don't care about apologies for him or the church, or that he's made some caveats in reference to women (what are they?) The entire organization is preposterous unless they embrace equality between men and women. How can anyone take them seriously? (Those who don't buy into the "man is first and best" part, that is, obviously some Catholics/Christians do).
posted by agregoli at 6:56 AM on December 11, 2013


cjorgenson: If he made a papal decree there would be women priests tomorrow and the church would survive.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

*wipes eyes* I love my church's traditions and scriptures, and I hate some of its dogma. But there are plenty of people who cling to all that dogma with both hands and both arms and both legs, and they will never, ever accept women priests.

Mind you, the second part of your statement is entirely correct: women priests would not destroy the Roman Catholic church. I think it could even lead to a modern revival and turn around a lot of things that result from the shortage of active (male) priests now. But will that day be fast getting here? Nuh-uh.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:57 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that before this guy became Pope, the Church was in the news a lot for enabling and sheltering child molesters, which it appeared to have been doing as a matter of de facto policy for who-knows-how-long. It seems to me that what the new Pope has actually changed more successfully than anything else is the tone of the news that one hears about the church.

For that matter, from what I'm reading, the church hasn't actually changed its positions about, for instance, homosexuality or abortion; the new Pope just says maybe they shouldn't harp on that stuff so much. I mean, am I wrong about that? He seems like a nice guy at the head of an organization that is essentially the same as it's ever been.

"Pope says same things about poor people that Jesus said" is a nice headline, and I'm all for it, and I wish it weren't such a big surprise. But it's difficult to regard it, and the Time Magazine thing into the bargain, as anything but a PR masterstroke.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:58 AM on December 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wouldn't go so far as to say the Pope has no impact at all on Protestantism.

The Pope is definitely influential in certain Protestant circles, although which circles those are varies based on the Pope and what he's saying. I know I've heard more about Pope Francis from the pulpits of Episcopal Churches than I have about Archbishop Justin.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:00 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


For that matter, from what I'm reading, the church hasn't actually changed its positions about, for instance, homosexuality or abortion; the new Pope just says maybe they shouldn't harp on that stuff so much. I mean, am I wrong about that? He seems like a nice guy at the head of an organization that is essentially the same as it's ever been.

Well, I think "not harping on that stuff" as well as the condemnation of greed is important. This Pope is asking Catholics to actually act like Christians. That is, focus on the poor, the sick, the weak, censure the ostentatiously rich and the pursuit of greed, etc etc. Jesus was about love, not judgement. There are Christians out there who are still like that, but none who have the power and reach of the Pope. Most of the public Christian figureheads, Catholic or Protestant, are essentially modern-day Pharisees.
posted by schroedinger at 7:03 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


If he made a papal decree there would be women priests tomorrow and the church would survive.

You've said you're not Catholic. I leave you to figure out exactly why you may be as staggeringly wrong about this as you actually are.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The entire organization is preposterous unless they embrace equality between men and women. How can anyone take them seriously? (Those who don't buy into the "man is first and best" part, that is, obviously some Catholics/Christians do).

Oh, for heaven's sake. Because you think the Catholic Church is the 'correct' church doesn't mean you think it is perfect. Or even right on a whole host of issues. Everyone knows that change takes time. I can see not ordaining women being a deal breaker for someone considering conversion to Catholicism (it's pretty much a dealbreaker for me on going back), but if you're already Catholic, you're thinking it'll come sooner or later and that the Church is slow to change. Do you find the US military preposterous or is your scorn reserved for Catholics?

Mind you, the second part of your statement is entirely correct: women priests would not destroy the Roman Catholic church.

I question this because I think waking up one morning and deciding to ordain women would probably result in a schism. How big a schism? I don't know, but I could imagine it being large enough to fuck things up.
posted by hoyland at 7:05 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


He doesn't have a hand on the rudder. He is the rudder.

...on what amounts to a supertanker. You don't change the direction of one of those things quickly.

In either case, I think it's completely possible for a person to have progressive views on leveling class discrepancies while still being short sighted on gender issues (or any other issues, for that matter). You take what you can get - he helps drag the Church into the 19th century in some areas, and maybe the next girl will get us into the 20th century in others.
posted by Mooski at 7:05 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I leave you to figure out exactly why you may be as staggeringly wrong about this as you actually are.

Well, there weren't married priests when I was a kid. There are now. (Although converts that were previously married, and I think they are expected to maintain celibacy.) My point is things do change, but they wouldn't if the Pope didn't want them to. I turned this around. If he wanted this change he could make it happen.

I admit I could be wrong. I often am. I wouldn't even know where to begin to prove myself wrong on the role of a Pope, so maybe shoot me a link?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:09 AM on December 11, 2013


I find the attitude of "liberal pope? Feh! CALL ME WHEN HE FIXES EVER SOCIAL PROBLEM EVER AND WE'LL TALK! Your move, Catholics!" to be amazingly counterproductive.

I mean, can you even imagine having this discussion when Benedict was Pope? It would be unfathomable. It's possible to celebrate progress while at the same time acknowledging that we have a long way to go.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:10 AM on December 11, 2013 [21 favorites]


In either case, I think it's completely possible for a person to have progressive views on leveling class discrepancies while still being short sighted on gender issues (or any other issues, for that matter). You take what you can get - he helps drag the Church into the 19th century in some areas, and maybe the next girl will get us into the 20th century in others.

For what it's worth most of what he's saying on class and poverty has been the Church's position since at least the 19th century. It's less a matter of dragging the Church into the 19th century as reminding people (both inside and outside the Church) of what its positions actually are.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:11 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's possible to celebrate progress while at the same time acknowledging that we have a long way to go.

Problem is some people see the Catholic church as a giant criminal organization engaged in conspiracy, coverup, tax evasion, money laundering, etc.

So to these people, it's like saying, "Look, the new mob leader doesn't hate Hispanics." Sure, it's a step in the right direct, but is still too far from being correct. To these people the church will never be able to win. Add in a lot of these people also don't buy the product the church is selling, and you will never make them happy...even with a black lesbian pope.

I agree with someone above that harm reduction is a good thing, and no, I don't see the church as the mob. I am just pointing out the logic.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:16 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


What about moot?
posted by Joe Chip at 7:18 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


...doesn't mean you think it is perfect. Or even right on a whole host of issues. Everyone knows that change takes time. I can see not ordaining women being a deal breaker for someone considering conversion to Catholicism (it's pretty much a dealbreaker for me on going back), but if you're already Catholic, you're thinking it'll come sooner or later and that the Church is slow to change. Do you find the US military preposterous or is your scorn reserved for Catholics?

Scorn? What scorn? I am not being malicious. But I mean it when I say that one thing makes their other ideas completely irrelevant to me. Basic stuff, equality of the sexes. I was raised Catholic but my feminism got in the way for sure. The military is an entirely different discussion, and not relevant.

I am not even talking about women priests, exclusively. I mean that women are inferior to men, as ordained by God. How is the Church ever going to change their position on that over time? That's hugely problematic, and a startlingly outdated and wrong idea. Change takes time, sure. How many more hundreds of years do we need to wait?

I'm only saying that the Church is irrelevant because they are wrong on such a basic issue. I can't laud an organization for minor changes in messaging that doesn't afford me basic equality as a human being.
posted by agregoli at 7:20 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Miley wuz robbed!
posted by Omon Ra at 7:21 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


When you have Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Palin going on about the Pope's liberal agenda you know you've fallen through the looking glass.

I would love it if the Pope summoned the three of them to a personal audience so that they could explain themselves.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:23 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sooo, are we just not talking about this anymore, or...?
posted by Mooseli at 7:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Pope says same things about poor people that Jesus said" is a nice headline, and I'm all for it, and I wish it weren't such a big surprise.

Exactly. It's a refreshing change for the Pope to be doing things that seem so... Christian, in the charitable and good sense and not the obnoxious political "we demand the religious freedom to persecute you" sense.

But it's sad that this is a refreshing change and they haven't been like this all along.

Rachel Maddow, I think it was, said something after Obama's election in 2008 about "finally, a grownup in the White House!" I kind of feel that way about the Pope.
posted by Foosnark at 7:25 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that before this guy became Pope, the Church was in the news a lot for enabling and sheltering child molesters, which it appeared to have been doing as a matter of de facto policy for who-knows-how-long. It seems to me that what the new Pope has actually changed more successfully than anything else is the tone of the news that one hears about the church.

For that matter, from what I'm reading, the church hasn't actually changed its positions about, for instance, homosexuality or abortion; the new Pope just says maybe they shouldn't harp on that stuff so much. I mean, am I wrong about that? He seems like a nice guy at the head of an organization that is essentially the same as it's ever been.


.....Kind of both?

I was reading the Time article about him (linked upthread) and it actually does a good job of contextualizing what Francis being pope actually is doing. And you're right that on one hand, "maybe they shouldn't harp on that so much" is Francis' approach.

But on the other hand, what Francis is doing with his approach is actually gonna shake things up. Francis isn't king, like the President of the United States isn't King. Francis can't just up and declare "this thing is law" one morning and have it be 100% across-the-board a thing any more so than Obama can. Just like we have Congress and the Supreme Court stepping in to block the President's hand on laws, the church structure has the same thing going on, the same political intricacies.

So the Pope is a leader and a figurehead when it comes to actual religious power, except in some very specific circumstances when he is asked to Officially And Formally Decree Church Doctrine. In another thread I compared the Pope to the Supreme Court, and it's kind of like that - he's like a weird amalgam of the President, in that he is a lone person who's guiding the overall direction the institution is moving in, and the Supreme Court, in that when on occasion he is asked to rule on specific line-items of Church Doctrine, he does. (That's what the "papal infallibility" thing actually refers to - the belief isn't that the pope is ALWAYS infallible, only that "when he is making formal declarations about church law, THAT is when he is infallible").

And when it comes to the "guiding the overall direction", he's doing pretty good. He's made a point of changing a lot of the "cabinet" for the Pope, so to speak - a lot of old institutions that were helmed by old European careerist priests; he's kicked them out and gotten younger guys from more than just Europe. He took this one really esoteric position, the "Vatican Almoner", which did charity outreach for the Vatican; in the past it was just some lame nothing position that they gave to old guys near retirement. But he got a fifty-year-old guy in there and told him to really ramp it up; the TIME article quotes him as having told the to "sell your desk and get out of your office and go find the poor people" instead of waiting for them to come to him. And that guy's doing things like, if he hears that there's a new bunch of immigrants who've just landed, he's there waiting at the airport for them and gives them phone cards so they can call their families back home. And the thing that really made my eyebrows shoot up when I read it this morning is that Francis sent the Vatican Bank to an independent firm for an audit.

So he's doing a lot of internal stuff which is gonna spread throughout the church. He is also doing some external stuff, too - technically it is forbidden for divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion, and some priests are really sticklers about that. And Francis has said that that's not fair. But the way he stated that was in that same kind of "let's not harp on the rules so much" way - he didn't say anything about how "divorce actually isn't bad," but he had some definite things to say about how harping on how divorce is bad and using that to keep Catholics from participating in the church wasn't cool.

...I'll admit that the closest exposure I have to the Jesuit mindset is knowing a guy who was in a Jesuit seminary a couple years, but the mindset sounds awfully similar. Francis may still believe abortion is a sin; so does my friend. But whether abortion is a sin is a different issue from how we relate to that sinner, and that's the part that Francis is emphasizing. The way my friend explained his feelings on abortion was - yeah, it's a sin, but it is not anyone's place to judge that sinner. It is between that woman and God, and my friend feels that he personally has ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to weigh in on that woman's own relationship with God. So while it is a sin, my friend trusts that at some point that woman will work that out with God and make amends with Him, in a way that God and the woman both are satisfied with, and so his only role is to support her as a person himself and respect that she went through some tough stuff. I even asked my friend what about abortion in the case of rape or incest, and he just shrugged and said "there are venial sins, you know."

So I see Francis the same way. "let's not harp on this" sounds mealy-mouthed on the face of it, but as a matter of policy it's actually kinda game-changing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:26 AM on December 11, 2013 [25 favorites]


Social issues aside even, this pope has been very different from his predecessor, because of both his symbolic but also his very real fight against corruption. I'm not Catholic, but my wife's family is, and they love the heck out of him. I just hope he doesn't get capped!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:27 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was raised--and for a time was a minister in--the Church of Christ, a denomination that has a similar historical stance on men and women. No women serve as ministers or congregational leaders, none are see visibly leading worship. Unlike Catholicism, though, Churches of Christ have no hierarchy at all. There is no structure above the congregational level. So individual churches can change the rules and no one can stop them. Many have made small changes, and a handful--around 20 or 30 nationwide, have moved to complete equality, or something like it. (Before I left the denomination, my last ministry was at one of those egalitarian congregations, and I moved 2000 miles just to be at a church where men and women were equal.) In that context, I have been in a lot of discussions about moving patriarchal churches toward equality, and some of my close friends have been key voices nationwide on the issue. I can tell you two things: 1) with one exception, every congregation that made a visible move in the direction of equality lost between a quarter and half of its members. The egalitarian church I served was cut almost exactly in half by the move. 2) The most vigorous opposition to full equality often comes from women. It's not the case that half the church is systematically oppressing the other half. There are both men and women who want equality and both men and women who want the patriarchy to continue. It is a weird thing to see women lead a faction opposed to their ability to lead, but I've seen it; and I've had women teach me why the shouldn't be allowed to teach.

Assuming Catholicism is at all analogous, a flat out fiat decision to allow female priests would create enormous damage, if not a schism. No Pope wants to be responsible for that. A Pope who wanted gender equality would have to move slowly, focus the conversation on social justice in general, and begin planting seeds that a later leader could harvest. I don't know what Francis is up to regarding women, but rehabilitating the image of the church, standing squarely against the power brokers and creating some space to breath and look at things from a new perspective is exactly the right move if he wanted long term change that will last and be supported by a majority of his very very large flock.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:30 AM on December 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


I admit I could be wrong. I often am. I wouldn't even know where to begin to prove myself wrong on the role of a Pope, so maybe shoot me a link?

I will admit I was tempted to do a "Let me google that for you" link. But I'll be nice and start here, on Wikipedia - and will even pull a quote:
The Pope is referred to as the Vicar of Christ and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. He may sometimes also use the less formal title of "Servant of the Servants of God". Applying to him the term "absolute" would, however, give a false impression: he is not free to issue decrees at whim. Instead, his charge forces on him awareness that he, even more than other bishops, is "tied", bound, by an obligation of strictest fidelity to the teaching transmitted down the centuries in increasingly developed form within the Church (though he himself is the final arbiter of what constitutes fidelity to those teachings).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:32 AM on December 11, 2013


schroedinger: " Well, I think "not harping on that stuff" as well as the condemnation of greed is important. This Pope is asking Catholics to actually act like Christians."

It's an improvement. Unfortunately, being anti-gay is still part of both ancient and modern Catholic doctrine.

We've had 1700+ years worldwide of the Catholic Church's vilification of people who engage in same sex sex acts. The Church's efforts to scapegoat gays throughout their pedophilia scandal as well as aggressive Catholic lobbying to influence secular laws against same sex marriage are only the most recent manifestations of that

There are Christian sects that welcome gay people, do not treat them like pariahs, and do not have clergy that vilify and speak out against them. Catholicism is not one of them.

So yes, concentrating on different areas of doctrine is nice to see. It is definitely an improvement.

But some actual change in attitude and actions with regards to gay people would be far better, I think.
posted by zarq at 7:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, there weren't married priests when I was a kid.

True, but it's still not widely discussed. (Granted, I didn't look it up until now but I didn't have much of an opinion on how things are run in various religions just that lots shut lots of people out beause $REASONS.

And yeah, nice to see practitioners of preaching. As a start, it's a nice change of pace. Then again, I've only been around for a few changeovers.
posted by tilde at 7:37 AM on December 11, 2013


GenjiandProust; I believe you might have meant Steven V1 who had had his predecessor exhumed, tried, de-fingered, and thrown to the river.
posted by adamvasco at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


cjorgensen: If he made a papal decree there would be women priests tomorrow and the church would survive.

It would technically survive; but it would almost instantly schism. I'm no fan of the Catholic Chruch, but generally it's foolish for leaders to decree things if they can't drag most of an organization along. This is especially true when your entire mechanism of authority is other people accepting you have it. If the Pope could order the Swiss Guard into conservative dioceses and enforce his decrees, that would be a different story, maybe. But that's not in the cards.
posted by spaltavian at 8:00 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


It should've been Snowden. But time opts for feel good, and what cover will sell magazines.

Snowden told us the truth at great personal risk. And what he did is an act that happened this year, and which won't happen again. Man of the year 2013 makes sense.

Pope Francis has decades left to go. Maybe in a few years if he realizes that papal infallibility allows him to decree true equality in the Catholic church, mandating it perform gay marriages, ordain women, maybe then he deserves this. Until then, he's just another person in power who's maintaining archaic bigotry, while trying to be "nice" about it.

His anticapitalist leanings are nice too. But finally following the teachings of the book you're supposed to have based your religion on does not get you a cookie. He's OK. His predecessors were scum. Improvement? Maybe. Cause for celebration? Hardly.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 8:01 AM on December 11, 2013


kewb brings up an interesting point, what with the regional variance of Catholicism. When I converted at age 10, from a family of vague agnosticism, it was in southern Claifornia. Along with the obvious Latin American influence, there seemed to me to be a greater emphasis on mysticism and monastic orders. (At least that was what I was exposed to. YMMV.)

I think moving from California to Virginia had almost as large an impact on my decision to leave the Church as, well, developing a sense of social justice. There was less a of a sense of community, perhaps. I don't know. But it did seem to me, even going to a Catholic high school, that the Church there was less a thing lived than a thing one did on Sunday for a couple of hours. Maybe that's a part of growing up, or at least growing more cynical.

I don't really consider myself a Christian anymore, but if I did go back, it'd probably be to join the Poor Clares, or maybe the Society of the Sacred Heart.
posted by dogheart at 8:02 AM on December 11, 2013


His predecessors were scum. Improvement? Maybe. Cause for celebration? Hardly.

I disagree. All progress of this sort is a cause for celebration. Perhaps the POTY should have been those who elected Francis, but it's a BIG Deal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:05 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'ma let you finish in a moment Francis - that's a cool name & all, but St. Augustine of Hippo was the greatest saint of all time! ALL TIME!
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:06 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


My point being: this dude reminds me more of the awesome Fransiscan monk that I took Cathechism classes from, and less of the dogmatic priest teaching my religion class in high school.
posted by dogheart at 8:06 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eh, Augustine had a deleterious effect, I think. His views on grace and original sin were, in my opinion, damaging. I think Western civilization would have been better off if the Pelagians had triumphed.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:30 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It should've been Snowden. But time opts for feel good, and what cover will sell magazines.

Some pretty controversial people on their list even in recent years.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:33 AM on December 11, 2013


It would technically survive; but it would almost instantly schism.

Really? I thought all the Pope had to do was make a decree, and the Catholics' spinal cord would glow and they'd instantly obey.

Catholics being human with a diversity of beliefs- who'da thunk it?
posted by happyroach at 8:34 AM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, there weren't married priests when I was a kid.

Casual research suggests otherwise, and that dispensations to allow married clergy to become RC priests go back at least to the 1950s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:36 AM on December 11, 2013


Casual research suggests otherwise, and that dispensations to allow married clergy to become RC priests go back at least to the 1950s.

As far as I know, this is done to poach clergy/congregations from other denominations. Pretty much, unless you're a member of a parish that schismed out of another denomination into Catholicism, you're not going to encounter a married priest.

I've never even heard of such a parish in the US, though I suppose some might exist. There are parishes that schismed out of the Church of England over the ordination of women priests. (Basically the Catholic Church is always lurking around trying to snag upset Anglicans.) I imagine needing to convert priests from other denominations is a thing that happens in Europe more frequently.
posted by hoyland at 8:51 AM on December 11, 2013


He doesn't have a hand on the rudder. He is the rudder.

If he made a papal decree there would be women priests tomorrow and the church would survive.


Yes, he could declare that women could be priests and in so doing he would spend an immense amount of resources and time clarifying how this harmonizes with tradition and scripture. It can be done, but his primary agenda is to steer the Church toward charity and service. This isn't to say that there isn't some value in ordaining women to the priesthood, but he has to pick his battles and this one isn't his cup of tea.
posted by dgran at 8:53 AM on December 11, 2013


Well, there weren't married priests when I was a kid.
True, but it's still not widely discussed.


Actually not true.

The Eastern Catholic Churches have a long history of married priests. The Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church has never been out of communion with Rome and has never lost its tradition of married priests. (The existence of this group was an obstacle in the final supression of clerical marriage among Latin Rite priests in Italy.) The Maronites have also maintained this tradition and argue that they have never been out of communion with Rome (though they were for a time out of communication with Rome).

Historical research increasingly shows the fluidity of ecclesiastical identity in Eastern Europe, where people, Churches and territories have moved back and forth accross ecclesiastical boundaries over the centuries and a married clergy has been maintained. There have been formally existing Eastern Catholic groups in Eastern Europe since the 16th century with married clergy.
posted by Jahaza at 9:28 AM on December 11, 2013


technically it is forbidden for divorced and remarried Catholics to take Communion, and some priests are really sticklers about that.

Well crap. I broke that accidentally at my Grandfather's funeral in the church I was baptized in earlier this year. Of course, I wasn't married in the church either time - so they might just not recognize my marriage... which hey - then has anyone really sinned? Either way, glad to know that Pope Francis probably has to look at some spreadsheet that shows the number of divorced Catholics that weren't served communion and gets to be all: 'Is this really necessary? I mean, c'mon... the people have been through enough already. Their marriage didn't work out, do we really need to harp on it? Seriously, don't bother me with dumb reports like this - instead find a way to increase those KPIs in the DO GOOD category - you know, like, help the poor and such?'
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:32 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pretty much, unless you're a member of a parish that schismed out of another denomination into Catholicism, you're not going to encounter a married priest.

This is not the case. There are quite a few married priests who came over from the Episcopal Church (or other denominations) and are not part of parishes that came over from other denominations. I've met three married Catholic priests (not counting Eastern clergy) and none of them were affiliated with parishes that came over.
posted by Jahaza at 9:33 AM on December 11, 2013


Nanukthedog:
Pope Francis probably has to look at some spreadsheet that shows the number of divorced Catholics that weren't served communion and gets to be all: 'Is this really necessary?
One of Fracncis' big things is about denying communion. As in you shouldn't do it. Yeah, there are rules and stuff, but communion is about healing and strengthening, not some cookie to be held back if you disagree with a politician's position on abortion.

I will say it's great to have these house rules and all but a new printed edition incorporating them would be REALLY nice.
posted by charred husk at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a lot of liberals don't understand about Francis is that he isn't doing all these things liberals like because he's liberal. He's doing them because he is deeply, sincerely conservative.

This is why, if you are hoping for the Church to change its stance on gays, abortion, or women as leaders, Francis is not your guy. He's a big improvement, but if he was as liberal as some people wish he'd never have gotten within 1,000 miles of the papal conclave.

Francis believes that the words of Christ are more important than the wealth and traditions of the Church as an organization. He believes actions speak louder than words. As others have pointed out other than a shift in focus, the actual details of his doctrinal stance aren't much different. What is different about Francis is that he believes those before him were not applying that doctrine properly, in the spirit of compassion and humility following Christ's example.

Francis has advised his followers to stop obsessing so much about the gays and abortion, which is frankly more than I'd hoped for. That makes sense not because his views on those things are liberal, but because those things are simply not as important as poverty and dignity, and obsessing over such relatively narrow trivia diverts one's attention from much more important work. I could see Francis presiding over a church that stops meddling in the politics of countries whose secular life is more liberal than the church would like in those areas, simply because there are more important things to attend to.

But he simply has no reason to initiate a change like sexual equality within the church hierarchy. Such a change would not only be against his very conservative bias, it would be a distraction from what he thinks is really important.
posted by localroger at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


> I'ma let you finish in a moment Francis - that's a cool name & all, but St. Augustine of Hippo was the greatest saint of all time! ALL TIME!

Dude was a total dick to his girlfriend, though.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:51 AM on December 11, 2013


Francis has advised his followers to stop obsessing so much about the gays and abortion, which is frankly more than I'd hoped for. That makes sense not because his views on those things are liberal, but because those things are simply not as important as poverty and dignity, and obsessing over such relatively narrow trivia diverts one's attention from much more important work. I could see Francis presiding over a church that stops meddling in the politics of countries whose secular life is more liberal than the church would like in those areas, simply because there are more important things to attend to.

Just had an epiphany which may also illuminate things -

Francis' attitude is never going to be "abortion isn't a sin". However, the difference is what Francis' next step from that is going to be. His predecessors were saying "abortion is a sin, and therefore we need to preach against abortion to stop women from having them". Francis, however, is taking a different tack: "abortion is a sin, so let's maybe look at the economic factors which lead so many women to feel like they have no other choice, and do something about that, so you won't have so many women feeling like they need to take that route in the first place."

You know? It's the difference between "running a red light is illegal, and a lot of people in this town do it, so let's station a cop by this stop light to make sure we catch them in the act and ticket them" and "running a red light is illegal, and a lot of people in this town do it, so let's talk to them and see if maybe we've got the light timed wrong and then fix that for them so they don't feel like they have to".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:52 AM on December 11, 2013 [17 favorites]



As long as the Pope and the Catholic Church maintain that women are inferior to men, I don't give any props. This is basic stuff.


pretty much all meaningful political change comes via moderates in opposed camps finding a way to give a little in terms of flexibility. If nothing else, I view Pope Francis as being part of this dynamic. One would hope we could find a way to meet him ...
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is not the case. There are quite a few married priests who came over from the Episcopal Church (or other denominations) and are not part of parishes that came over from other denominations. I've met three married Catholic priests (not counting Eastern clergy) and none of them were affiliated with parishes that came over.

Well, okay, I'm being sloppy. Of course there are priests who have switched without taking a parish with them. (I'm sure some of them have done it without upheaval in their original denomination, too.)

Anyway, the point is that married Roman Catholic priests are a decided rarity and exist in a fairly specific case.
posted by hoyland at 9:57 AM on December 11, 2013


Francis has advised his followers to stop obsessing so much about the gays and abortion, which is frankly more than I'd hoped for.

And to be honest - Jesus doesn't actually talk about that stuff. Pretty much all of the biblical arguments against gay anything are from the old testament.

What the J-man goes on about, again and again and again, is helping the poor, sick, needy and unfortunate; and this is the best part - it is supposed to be without judgement or anything.

This stands in contrast to current thinking about aid for the poor, where you have means testing and drug testing and so on and if the poor get any aid at all, they should be made to feel bad about it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:10 AM on December 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: "Pretty much all of the biblical arguments against gay anything are from the old testament."

Which is ironic, because "The Jewish community, with 81% of support for gay marriage according to public opinion polls, is the constituency most supportive of marriage equality, second only to the LGBT community."
posted by zarq at 10:25 AM on December 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


That Miley Cyrus was in the running should tell you how relevant Time Magazine is

That Miley Cyrus was claimed to be in the running should tell you Time Magazine knows how to stay relevant in today's bullshit trolling-for-clicks world.
posted by scrowdid at 10:32 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Pretty much, unless you're a member of a parish that schismed out of another denomination into Catholicism, you're not going to encounter a married priest.

As others have said: not true. One of the Rochester-area parishes had such a priest just a few years back (a convert from Eastern Orthodoxy).
posted by thomas j wise at 10:37 AM on December 11, 2013


Glenn Greenwald is peeved about the selection.
posted by octothorpe at 10:38 AM on December 11, 2013


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: "Maybe in a few years if he realizes that papal infallibility allows him to decree true equality in the Catholic church, mandating it perform gay marriages, ordain women, maybe then he deserves this."

"This"?

"This" is Time's "Person of the Year" award.

If Pope Francis achieves the above, then he'll deserve instant canonization in the new, improved Catholic Church.
posted by chavenet at 10:43 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I kinda don't care about apologies for him or the church, or that he's made some caveats in reference to women (what are they?)

They're adult people of the female gender, but that's not important right now.
posted by officer_fred at 10:46 AM on December 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Sure, if you parse a sentence incorrectly, you can make a cheap joke! Thanks for contributing.
posted by agregoli at 10:48 AM on December 11, 2013


I, too, dislike levity
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:04 AM on December 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald is peeved about the selection.

Isn't he a little biased here? Obviously it's so much deeper than that, but Snowden's story and ongoing saga has been Greenwald's meal ticket and hobby-horse for a long while now.
posted by explosion at 11:05 AM on December 11, 2013


Anyway, the point is that married Roman Catholic priests are a decided rarity and exist in a fairly specific case.

I have held off from making the following riff on this as long as I could:

In conclusion, the Catholic Church is a religion of contrasts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it should have been Snowden. I also think Malala Yousafzai should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize. But no one listens to me. Except the NSA, perhaps.
posted by homunculus at 11:32 AM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


agregoli: "Sure, if you parse a sentence incorrectly, you can make a cheap joke! Thanks for contributing."

I believe that a reference to Airplane! is never inappropriate.

Here I stand, I can do no other.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:58 AM on December 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Giving the Pope person of the year is entirely consistent with our recent trend of awarding things to people who have the potential to do great things....and then don't really deliver. It's as if we now award celebrities status for just having possible upside.
posted by srboisvert at 12:26 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apologies if this has been referenced before, but Chris Arnade writes in The Guardian, "Pope Francis is whistleblower for the poor. Thank you Time for recognising it". Well worth reading and he makes a very good case for Time Magazine's choice of Pope Francis.
posted by vac2003 at 12:35 PM on December 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


An amusing aside I've just realized now -

My father says that Pope Francis bears an uncanny resemblance to his Polish grandfather. I just picture him walking around now past newsstands while this issue is on sale, and thinking "Hey, cool, dziadzie is person of the year!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:40 PM on December 11, 2013


I'm a big fan of the new Pope. Big fan!

Mostly because he is not JUST giving lip service to Christian beliefs like charity and empathy; he is also modelling those behaviors. Sneaking out of the church at night to help the poor incognito(!), pooh-poohing the idea that atheists are going to hell, getting rid of flashy displays and other exorbitant expenses designed to impress the masses with his own Papal magnificence and focusing on the needs of his congregation instead. Actions speak louder than words, and all that.

As someone married to a Catholic who found she could not join the church because of sincere concerns over their treatment of women and gays, and later also would not raise her children as Catholic because of their horrific record on child molestation, I am pleased to see someone humble, charitable, accepting AND devout leading the church for a change.

I have a question for Catholics reading this thread, though, which has occurred to me a few times since Francis became the Pope (I especially wonder what Catholics in Europe have to say about this issue): How do Catholics view Benedict now that Francis is holding the papal reins?

To me, it feels as if Benedict took on all the fringe benefits of being the Pope--the adulation of the believers, the pomp and circumstance--but then reneged on the duties of the office. It feels like the Pope should, as a devout believer as well as leader, feel a responsibility to make sacrifices for the greater good of the Church. Prior to Benedict, for many years the convention of "Pope until death" was followed. That there was precedent for "stepping down" in the past did not in any way make that the common or accepted practice. Pope John Paul II, for example, retained office as the Pope despite Parkinson's, extreme age and infirmity.

So has Benedict's choice to step away from the Papal duties and quietly sojourn in the countryside rather than working from the Papal seat bother Catholics, especially given what Francis has managed to accomplish in such a short time as Pope?
posted by misha at 1:19 PM on December 11, 2013



The Pope showed us how things have been and is actively taking steps to ensure that won't be how things are. That's what's more important than Snowden.


In other words, we have a better chance changing the way God does business than the way corporations do.
posted by any major dude at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


misha, there is a lot of speculation in my family that there might have been some pressure on Benedict to leave, given how drastically they changed course. We are not European or in any way knowledgeable about Vatican politics, but that's the random dinner table bullshitting of a midwestern Catholic family if you're interested.
posted by gerstle at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Surprised with all this commentary there's nothing on Francis and his relationship to Liberation Theology.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:37 PM on December 11, 2013


misha: "Prior to Benedict, for many years the convention of "Pope until death" was followed. That there was precedent for "stepping down" in the past did not in any way make that the common or accepted practice. "

I think that's understating how unusual papal abdication is. The earlier history of the church is often obscure, but there were only two canonical resignations prior to Benedict XVI, and the last one was in 1415.

The church has been around for 2000 years, you can find a previous example of almost ANYTHING happening.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have certainly been wondering just what Benedict's take on all this is. I can't imagine he grants a lot of interviews, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:57 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno, maybe Benedict did have god whispering in his ear to quit.
If it hadn't been for the terrible impression Benedict gave during his term, and the various scandals, they probably would have gone with a more conservative, and definitely not-jesuit candidate.
posted by Elysum at 2:09 PM on December 11, 2013


Really? I thought all the Pope had to do was make a decree, and the Catholics' spinal cord would glow and they'd instantly obey.

Flagged as offensive to Cylons.
posted by speicus at 2:42 PM on December 11, 2013


Dude was a total dick to his girlfriend, though.

That's no shit, but hey -- free will, AMIRITE?
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:44 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Expecting the Catholic church to cowtow to your beliefs is like expecting Exxon to hand you free gas because you drive a Prius. It isn't rational or based on any sense of actual inertia or how any business or religion handles things.

When Exxon promotes hiring environmentalists and doing wildlife studies, I think that's a good thing; however, it also reminds me that they're probably working to make sure that they have to do as little as possible with the studies they conduct. I know that there is no interest on the part of Exxon to actually do good beyond create a positive press release.

Then there's this pope fellow, and a Catholic church. Both of which I was raised tangentially to. ... not that I was raised in any relation to the Pope, but the concept of the Pope. Let me start with this statement: In 37 years, I have no recollection of a Pope getting their hands dirty. That was Mother Theresa's job. And somewhere in there, I found their doctrine good, but their attitudes and policies reprehensible. I almost believed their bullshit about women not being priests - because there were strong female leads in the church, and I always thought the women were far more instrumental in the sense of community and good deeds. Putting a woman as a figurehead, I figured would disrupt the fact that somebody in the church actually got something done... I mean, Mother Theresa did what was right - she didn't have to worry about career aspirations... which seems really odd when talking about churches and Mother Theresa but well, that's where I am now.

Then I met my first openly gay high school kid and watched a community love a kid and a larger dioceses almost lose their shit over him. I mean it was... it was... wow... Love the sinner, hate the sin? ? Where was this guys sin? He liked dudes? So what... All these career churchy types seem to be dudes... Is there a chance there's a little pot / kettle / black going on here? (This was before the church scandals broke.) Anyway... that was it. I walked away - though not completely.

In my core, I'm Catholic - at least the guilty part. I recognize my fallacies, as well as the church's. I see folks failing to live up to the ideals they proport. I see folks that are declared sinners by their orientation showing more virtue than those who want them cast out. My wife? She hates the catholic church... mostly because she watched a priest take his boyfriend out to expensive dinners on his parishioner's dimes while claiming a vow of poverty - hypocrisy! I just shrug and am glad he wasn't doing that with little kids, because hey - the church really seemed to let me down through the 90s and 00's... and even into the 10's... JPII was bad - even though I did get to meet him (with about 120 other folks) but Benedict... I mean - WTF man... you are a church leader dude... can you get further and further away from the youth than that guy? When you make JPII look hip... you've got problems. Then Benedict said 'um yeah... I'm "retiring." and I was all, who cares dude - you suck anyway. And so I expected nothing good to follow him. Calls of a more conservative doctrine were clear. Old world vs. New World catholic politics pretty much meant that my ideology was never going to fly (which incidentally is something like "Dudes - we're going to have to get enlightened if we want to survive for another twenty let alone hundred years.") I laughed at the thought that they would be considering a South American, thinking - oh this is really to try to bolster up the Latin roots.

And then he picked the name Pope Francis... and it was like a record scratch for me. And I was suddenly - well now... somebody either thinks VERY big of them self or has plans to actually get their hands dirty. This aught to get interesting.

So he can't change nor will he change the doctrine against the homosexual community any time soon (read: 50-70 years), but he changed the focus to what is important about the church. More importantly, by changing the conversation point, he's opening up the community to more liberals - he's giving an inch to the Trojan Horse that will eventually get women where they need to be (that's about 150 years away). They'll try this separate but equal bullshit for a while, but - evenutally - it will happen.

This is like the Red Sox post their September fall... It took two years and two coaches before they rebuilt their team. I see Francis as starting the dialogue for the church of the future: Focus on the good that the church can do - rebuild the flock - and the social change from the new members will eventually drive a change in church doctrine.

I don't think I'm going to suddenly wake up next Sunday and go to church. Hell, my kids aren't baptized. (Hmmm... repunctuated... Hell: My kids are't baptized.) I did go to church when my grandfather died... That was ... weird. (Stuff has changed in 20 years, not much, but stuff) But maybe some day I'll consider confessing my sins - I'm racking them up I'm sure of it, and I'd like to someday clear my conscience and maybe let them clear theirs.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:52 PM on December 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Nanukthedog: " When Exxon promotes hiring environmentalists and doing wildlife studies, I think that's a good thing; however, it also reminds me that they're probably working to make sure that they have to do as little as possible with the studies they conduct. I know that there is no interest on the part of Exxon to actually do good beyond create a positive press release."

I'm sure you're right about their motivations for hiring environmentalists. But it's worth noting that Exxon is a notoriously non-transparent company and have been since the Valdez incident. They're a very large corporate entity with huge profit margins and have apparently decided they simply have little need to promote news about themselves anymore, even about things that could conceivably impact their stock price and net worth in a positive way. At least not the way that other companies in their industry do.

For example: they discovered what might eventually be tallied as a billion barrels of recoverable oil in the Gulf of Mexico in 2007 but that news was only made public after they sued the Department of the Interior over licensing rights -- four years later.

I mention this because sometimes, companies work against logical short-term expectations. Exxon has a high enough profit margin that they can afford to take the long view, now.
posted by zarq at 3:22 PM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Hit post by accident.

My point was, the Church has the same luxury. They doesn't have to answer to anyone and will remain relevant to a large portion of the world's population no matter what they do. As an institution they are largely immune to short term social trends, so they can ignore them until said trend becomes a long-term accepted norm.
posted by zarq at 3:26 PM on December 11, 2013


As an institution they are largely immune to short term social trends, so they can ignore them until said trend becomes a long-term accepted norm.

Or reverts back to the prior norm.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:34 PM on December 11, 2013


Yes, exactly.
posted by zarq at 3:36 PM on December 11, 2013


Holy See Criticizes TPP And TAFTA/TTIP In WTO Speech (previously)
posted by jeffburdges at 5:34 PM on December 11, 2013


Enh, one could argue that Snowden would be a similarly safe pick. This old Žižek article about Assange more or less applies to Snowden. He produces these revelations, but they don't actually surprise many people, and they don't necessarily spur much further action.

This is not so. The impact Snowden has had, and will have, is going to be a lot more profound, even if it's frequently not obvious, and may span decades. For one thing, I've noticed, he's produced an issue that many liberals and conservatives alike agree on.
posted by JHarris at 5:34 PM on December 11, 2013


Nice choice. Like most progressives, I like this pope, even though I'm not Catholic and don't have a say in these things, so to speak. But the pope does affect everyone in one way or another, and steering the ancient and tottering behemoth that is the Catholic church towards the left (or really, the center) is great with me.

But let's not forget that this pope is seen as a radical socialist only in comparison with other popes, namely compared his positively right-wing predecessor Benedict...thank God that jerk quit after a few years.

And thank God again that Edward Snowden didn't get it; he's simply not the hero so many are making him out to be.
posted by zardoz at 5:42 PM on December 11, 2013


If it hadn't been for the terrible impression Benedict gave during his term, and the various scandals, they probably would have gone with a more conservative, and definitely not-jesuit candidate.

As I recall, the theory back when Benedict was elected was actually that he was a compromise of sorts, with a significant portion of the cardinals wanting to go liberal and agreeing to Benedict on the grounds he was old and should die quickly (though, of course, that didn't happen), with a view to going liberal the next time around.
posted by hoyland at 6:03 PM on December 11, 2013


he's simply not the hero so many are making him out to be

So what? You really aren't getting the stated purpose of MOTY (other than, as stated above, to sell more issues of TIME).

It's not about awarding good works. It's about recognizing influence. Pope Francis' impact has been fairly shallow so far, but very broad in that it is noticeable to a lot of people. Snowden's influence has been narrow, really noticed only by people who are paying attention, but at some critical junctures it has been very, very deep already changing important institutions in fundamental ways and promising more such changes to come.

Motive is completely irrelevant, as one might divine from the fact that one year the MOTY was "the personal computer."
posted by localroger at 6:50 PM on December 11, 2013


misha: How do Catholics view Benedict now that Francis is holding the papal reins?

Speaking as an American Catholic: Just as happy to see him gone, thanks. He didn't seem a all dynamic, whereas Francis is clearly engaged with the world. We definitely traded up.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:56 PM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


they probably would have gone with a more conservative, and definitely not-jesuit candidate.

Bergoglio was almost elected in 2005 instead of Ratzinger. With the conclave deadlocked after an historic number of ballots and no end in sight, Bergoglio broke the deadlock by imploring his own supporters to fall in behind Ratzinger so the Church would have a leader and could get on with its business. So the forces that put Francis in place were already strong in '05 and it may be a recognition that they were ascendant which prompted Benedict's resignation.
posted by localroger at 7:02 PM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course, with regard to the US, what the Pope says won't impress Protestants.

This Protestant clergy person and his mainline colleagues are absolutely impressed.
posted by 4ster at 8:25 PM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seventh-Day Adventists think the Pope is the Antichrist or, at least, the Papacy is where the Antichrist will arise. And they're not alone.

As it was drilled into me, the Antichrist will come as a kind and peaceful man, a natural leader, who wants all nations to work together for the benefit of all mankind. Men of all religions will be fooled by his gentle ways and with the help of the False Prophet, the Antichrist will be the leader of the world (one-world government).

Later on it gets a little sticky, when each person is forced to declare his loyalty to the Antichrist (though, of course, he won't be called that) by taking his mark (some form of 666), without which one will be forbidden from buying or selling anything.

Hmm... I don't think I can buy a house without my social security number, can't have a bank account without that same number, must pay my taxes using that number -

but, I'm sorry, it just doesn't work for me. We should be aware, though, that there are large groups of religious people who see our new Pope in exactly that light (or dark).
posted by aryma at 9:41 PM on December 11, 2013


It's not about awarding good works. It's about recognizing influence.

Yeah, I get that. Snowden had people talking, but that was what it was--talk. I don't see a lot of actual influence that he's had. In terms of real whistleblowing, Julian Assange and Wikileaks have been far more important. The pope shifting the discussion to talk about the poor is something John Paul II discussed sort of vaguely, and something Benedict never discussed, so it's a big deal that income inequality is come to the fore. Which is a far more important issue than the tinkerings of the NSA.
posted by zardoz at 1:10 AM on December 12, 2013


Later on it gets a little sticky, when each person is forced to declare his loyalty to the Antichrist (though, of course, he won't be called that) by taking his mark (some form of 666), without which one will be forbidden from buying or selling anything.

Hmmm. Does getting a favorite for a vaguely-approving comment on the Pope count?
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:47 AM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Snowden has changed how techies view cryptography's role, zardoz. We're seeing seeing open source distributions start switching their default from "user-friendly at all costs" to "user-friendly but end-to-end encrypted".

In the past, we commonly said "if your adversary is the NSA then get another adversary", meaning both their capacities were too extreme if brought to bear on a single target, and they likely weren't too interested in you anyways. We targeted end-to-end crypto tools at an "idealized activists" who realized they must learn to use the tool properly because they were important.

We were changing this slowly as we found better compromises between security and user friendliness, like ZRTP or OtR message as opposed to GnuPG. Snowden finalized the change however. Now everyone accepts that (a) the NSA is everyone's adversary but (b) the NSA cannot direct their full resources at everyone. No one says "get another adversary" anymore.

Assange is a philosopher-doer who achieved exactly what he needed to make his important ideas mainstream enough. I'd never claim Snowden is more important than Assange, but very much apples and oranges.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:38 AM on December 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seventh-Day Adventists think the Pope is the Antichrist or, at least, the Papacy is where the Antichrist will arise.

Yeah, but they always have. They don't think that because Pope Francis happens to be Pope now, they think that because they think Catholics are teh evul.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on December 12, 2013


At least that's as I understand it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 AM on December 12, 2013


This Protestant clergy person and his mainline colleagues are absolutely impressed.

I mentioned it upthread, but I'll do it again: an a mainline Protestant (Episcopalian), I'm hearing a ton about Pope Francis from my church. The whole sermon on the first Sunday of Advent was about what Francis was saying about consumerism. Now that's not a hard sell in the Episcopal Church, it probably would have been a sermon about consumerism anyway (a sermon addressed to a room of the very rich, but we'll leave that to one side), but the headline was "Pope Francis is preaching this and you should listen."

Contrast that to our spiritual leader, who can't even get his collar on right.

Comment made at least 75% because I love that tumblr.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:20 AM on December 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


aryma: " As it was drilled into me, the Antichrist will come as a kind and peaceful man, a natural leader, who wants all nations to work together for the benefit of all mankind. Men of all religions will be fooled by his gentle ways and with the help of the False Prophet, the Antichrist will be the leader of the world (one-world government).

Later on it gets a little sticky, when each person is forced to declare his loyalty to the Antichrist (though, of course, he won't be called that) by taking his mark (some form of 666), without which one will be forbidden from buying or selling anything.

Even given the whole "Wolf in sheep's clothing" morality tale, I'm still trying to see a negative in a leader who brings about a peaceful global hegemony.
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on December 12, 2013


Later on it gets a little sticky, when each person is forced to declare his loyalty to the Antichrist (though, of course, he won't be called that) by taking his mark (some form of 666), without which one will be forbidden from buying or selling anything

This is the true problem with the Antichrist's regime: when everyone's username and password is "666", identity theft will be a real pain in the ass. At least Je5u5 makes us use a combination of lower and uppercase letters at least one number. Vote #1 Chr1st.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:48 AM on December 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


"The first non-European pope in 1,200 years" was born of an Italian-Argentinian mother and an Italian father.

He's not really non-European. He's not even really non-Italian.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2013


....Was he born in Argentina? Then he's Argentinian.

I mean, my grandmother was Canadian, but that doesn't revoke my mother's US Citizenship-by-birth status.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:33 PM on December 12, 2013


He's not really non-European. He's not even really non-Italian.

In other words, he's from Argentina.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:48 PM on December 12, 2013


....Was he born in Argentina? Then he's Argentinian.

The point being that all the cooing over not being from Europe implies a bigger deal than it really is. That would be like an Irish or German company hiring me and then bragging about their diversity.
posted by spaltavian at 6:04 PM on December 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The point being that all the cooing over not being from Europe implies a bigger deal than it really is. That would be like an Irish or German company hiring me and then bragging about their diversity.

I understand that that's the argument you're trying to make. But what you're maybe not understanding is that it sounds an awful lot like those claims that "Obama isn't an American Citizen" being based on his father being Nigerian. And something tells me there ain't many birthers on the Blue, so I'm honestly baffled why people seem to be using that playbook in this instance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:35 AM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hi, you've just made me not American. Heck, I'm probably an Italian citizen (since Italian citizenship is quite heritable), just like a substantial portion of Argentina's population. I didn't apply for a scholarship in high school because I couldn't in good faith write an essay about what being of Italian descent meant to me. I was actually raised to think of myself as English to some large degree. I'm certainly not a reliable person to ask about what a 'typical' American thinks or does or says or eats. But I'm a more reliable as an American than I am as English. It took me until college to be able say 'Yes, damn it, I am American and you can't take that away from me.' How conflicted I feel as an American is my business on any given day; other people don't get to tell me. Francis surely has closer ties to Italy than I do and they may well enable him to navigate Church politics more easily, I have no idea, but you don't get to declare him totally Italian because it's convenient for you politically.

(It's not so much the birthers that this is reminding me of (though Obama's father was Kenyan, not Nigerian), but the people who complain about countries 'cheating' by using 'foreign' players in the World Cup. Funnily enough, it's almost always race that's used to suss out these 'foreign' players. They usually overlook the flow of players between Argentina and Italy. For scale in this example, I can play for England.)
posted by hoyland at 7:06 AM on December 13, 2013


(though Obama's father was Kenyan, not Nigerian)

Whoops, you're right! Sorry!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:10 AM on December 13, 2013


You were only off by 3000 miles. (Kinda like confusing Portugal and Estonia.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:34 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was pre-caffinated when I typed that, for the record.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:51 AM on December 13, 2013


that it sounds an awful lot like those claims that "Obama isn't an American Citizen" being based on his father being Nigerian.

yeah, it's pretty simple from where I'm sitting (Canada -- a nation of immigrants). If you were born here and decided to stay, you're one of us. We'll also have you if you've chosen to come here since birth ... and jumped through all the necessary hoops.

End of discussion. I hope.
posted by philip-random at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2013


No one is doubting his Argentinean bona fides or citizenship, you've got be fucking kidding me to think that was IAmBroom's point.

I understand that that's the argument you're trying to make.

If you're saying it sounds Birtherism, no, you clearly do not. When everyone goes "oh wow, he's from Argentina!" the implication is that it's someone not from a traditionally empowered/privileged constituency within the Catholic Church. I don't know why this so hard to grasp.
posted by spaltavian at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


When everyone goes "oh wow, he's from Argentina!" the implication is that it's someone not from a traditionally empowered/privileged constituency within the Catholic Church.

If someone says "wow, he's from Argentina" but is surprised when he turns out to be of Italian ancestry, they don't really know enough about Argentina to be making an informed statement in the first place. It also remains true, that he was born and raised in a country outside Europe, which is certainly of some significance. To call him "not non-European" ignores that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:39 AM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


When everyone goes "oh wow, he's from Argentina!" the implication is that it's someone not from a traditionally empowered/privileged constituency within the Catholic Church. I don't know why this so hard to grasp.

Wait, I'm confused.

Are you saying that you believe Pope Francis' Italian parentage DOES or DOES NOT trump his Argentinian birthplace when it comes to his own cultural perspective?

I understand that IAmBroom is claiming that his Italian parentage trumps his Argentinian ancestry, and I am saying that I believe that this claim does, yes, sound like a birther thing. Because where one born can shape a person just as much as one's parentage.

I don't know why that is so hard to grasp.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:06 PM on December 13, 2013


When everyone goes "oh wow, he's from Argentina!" the implication is that it's someone not from a traditionally empowered/privileged constituency within the Catholic Church.

But exactly: he's from Argentina. Italian-Argentinians are the largest ancestry group in Argentina. He doesn't have to be Italian-Argentinian, but one shouldn't be surprised that he is. It's like hearing about someone who is Chinese and then acting surprised and scornful when they turn out to be Han.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:41 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "....Was he born in Argentina? Then he's Argentinian.

I mean, my grandmother was Canadian, but that doesn't revoke my mother's US Citizenship-by-birth status.
"

I never said he wasn't Argentinian. I said he's not non-European. Just like you can be an Irish American, even though Ireland co-owns 0.000000% of the United States sovereign territory, he can be Italian Argentinian.

Rome has continued to promote from within. This time they tried to make it look like it wasn't keeping the power in the familia (and - whoops! - that turned out to be a lot more true than they'd hoped) - but they still elected someone who looked and talked Italian.

EmpressCallipygos: "I understand that IAmBroom is claiming that his Italian parentage trumps his Argentinian ancestry,"

False. IAmBroom said what he said, not the garbage words you're putting in his mouth.

I'm saying, once again, that Rome's first choice in a millenium for a Pope from outside Europe was born from a very Italian household... I really doubt his political career would have taken exactly the same arc if his ancestors were gauchos, and he needed a phrasebook to speak Italian.

Sys Rq: "In other words, he's from Argentina."

Are you claiming that having two Italian-descent parents makes him Argentinian, or that everyone from Argentina has Italian parents? Either way, your statement is bizarrely wrong. And from your own link - he's an Italian Argentinian, which is clearly interesting enough to be differentiated from Argentinians who don't trace their ancestry to Italy. By analogy, an African-American is both American, and has African ancestry.

A lot of people are having problems with reading comprehension here.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:17 PM on December 13, 2013


You're completely eliding the differences between being Italian-Argentinian and Italian. Sure, you can be both Irish and American, but being Irish-American and being Irish are different; they carry with them different backgrounds, different perspectives, different life experiences. Is the difference as great as if he were Argentinian and Indigenous? Of course not, but it is different than being born and raised in Italy, and it is significant.

Claiming that anyone here has said that everyone Argentinian is Italian or that having two Italian descent parents makes you Argentinian and then claiming that anyone else has reading comprehension problems is pretty rich, too.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:53 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ok, I am actually getting IAmBroom's point here:
This was pretty much the closest they could get to having an Italian Pope, AND have him be from a Non-European country, that they could get.

So yes, it was a step outwards, but it was the smallest, most mincing step they could take, from that perspective - luckily he seems to be one of the more decent choices they could take, regardless.
posted by Elysum at 5:02 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


They might have thought it was a small mincing step but the guy still grew up in Argentina, not Italy, and the privation of his home nation informs him a lot more than his ancestry.
posted by localroger at 5:38 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


And besides, where are people getting the idea that the Vatican was hung up on an Italian pope anyway? Especially since the two prior popes were German and Polish?

Francis is notable for being the first non-European pope, not for being a non-Italian pope.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


By analogy, an African-American is both American, and has African ancestry.

And isn't African. See how that works?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:15 PM on December 13, 2013


And from your own link - he's an Italian Argentinian, which is clearly interesting enough to be differentiated from Argentinians who don't trace their ancestry to Italy.

No, it's like being an Irish-American or an Italian-American (at least in some parts of the US)--there are a hell of a lot of people around with the same ethnic background as you, whose ancestors immigrated in the late 1800s. The same wave of emigration that brought loads of Italians to the US brought loads of Italians to Argentina.
posted by hoyland at 6:30 AM on December 14, 2013


Indeed, as I've often seen pointed out there are more Irish-Americans nowadays than there are actual Irish. And while Ireland does for now have an extremely welcoming citizenship policy for those who can prove ancestry, the descendants of emigrants aren't automatically Irish no matter how thick their accent might be.
posted by localroger at 6:54 AM on December 14, 2013


By the way, just today the pope responded that he's not a Marxist (as he is accused of by Rush et al), but that he's not offended because he's "met many Marxists in [his] life who are good people."

That's one of the best responses that I've ever heard out of this guy. He's right: he's not a Marxist, and his entire religious ideology is in contrast to Marxist thought, but he acknowledges that even if he doesn't ascribe to Marxism, it's not a boogieman, and Marxists can still be good people.

Things are changing. Or at least, people are finally noticing.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:55 PM on December 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Pope Francis says trickle-down economics do not help the poor, in a wide-ranging interview with Italian daily La Stampa.
"There was the promise that once the glass had become full it would overflow and the poor would benefit. But what happens is that when it's full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing ever comes out for the poor''.
posted by adamvasco at 1:34 PM on December 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pope Francis fired the Bishop who said he would deny communion to Kerry in 2005.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:40 AM on December 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Who Am I to Judge? A radical Pope’s first year.
posted by homunculus at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Okay, those articles convince me that Pope Francis might have been a better MOTY than Snowden.

Anyway, I don't think the leaks are exhausted, far from it, so there's always next year....
posted by JHarris at 10:17 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps some of Francis' thinking is rubbing off on other church leaders? A group of Catholic church leaders just told off a US Catholic university for accepting a donation from the Koch brothers.

It's a small sign, yeah, but I think it's a sign nonetheless.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:03 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Advocate's Person of the Year: Pope Francis
posted by Going To Maine at 2:37 PM on December 18, 2013


EmpressCallipygos, it's a small sign that makes me giggle in an unseemly manner in public places. Hee hee!
posted by JHarris at 5:29 PM on December 18, 2013


Pope Supports Public Breastfeeding (also feeding poor)
There are so many children that cry because they are hungry. At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few months old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: madam, I think the child’s hungry. “Yes, it’s probably time…” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat! That woman had milk to give to her child; we have enough food in the world to feed everyone.
posted by corb at 9:32 AM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some more discussion of the Pope & his significance (& issues) from The Diane Rehm Show: Pope Francis And His Global Reach
posted by Going To Maine at 11:58 AM on December 23, 2013


Finally a Pope that acts like a Pope
posted by jeffburdges at 10:00 PM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm happy to see he's so popeular. runs away fast
posted by JHarris at 4:15 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


jeffburges' link is terrific. That pope is a wonderful man. Amazingly so. I'm wondering how he can have so much energy.

And in a way, we have the prior pope to thank for him. Because he willingly stepped down. It could be said the true mark of humility is standing aside for the better man. Maybe there's something else involved there too, but at this point I'm going stop speculating while I'm still thinking positively about both people.
posted by JHarris at 4:40 AM on December 24, 2013


I love most of those (his own Harley Davidson? There's stories there I want to know!) - but I'm not sure how I feel about Vatican employees not getting a bonus, though. It's one thing to do your own charity, it's another thing to do other people's for them.
posted by corb at 8:34 AM on December 24, 2013


Why should Vatican employees get a bonus, though? The business of the church, ideally, is to serve the congregation, not to line the church leaders' pockets. If the Vatican has extra money, the best way to use it is to reinvest it in community service, not bonuses for the employees. People working in the Vatican should model the values the Vatican espouses.
posted by misha at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The business of the church, ideally, is to serve the congregation, not to line the church leaders' pockets.

I'm not really clear that "Vatican employees" necessarily are "leaders of the church"; I'd assume otherwise. There's really not enough info in that little slide show to evaluate what was done, but I'd like to think that no one was depending on that bonus to get them through until the, uh, next Pope is elected.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:44 AM on December 24, 2013


Yeah, I'm assuming "Vatican Employees" includes, say, "Vatican Janitors." And I think it's reasonable to assume that if these bonuses have been paid out every time a pope has been elected for the last hundred years, that some people might have been planning around that bonus, given that they knew in advance a new pope was coming. I mean, sure, it's not Grave Injustice, but I think it's weird to suddenly be anti-worker-bonuses just because they're giving the money to the poor.
posted by corb at 6:25 AM on December 26, 2013


Esquire Magazine: The Best Dressed Man Of 2013: Pope Francis
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2013


Rich people not thrilled with Francis.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:46 PM on December 31, 2013


Francis is there because the Church is realizing that its power base in the world is collapsing; its hope of keeping the rich in the fold is ultimately as doomed as the GOP's hope of appealing to people of color and gays. Not too long from now the Church's major constituency, and perhaps not long after the Church itself, will be poor. Francis is preparing and was chosen to prepare for that.
posted by localroger at 5:55 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh those poor rich people, the bad old pope hurt their feelings.
posted by octothorpe at 7:37 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Imho, "Randroid" is too complementary a term for people like Ken Langone. Rich people do not believe in god, especially not the catholic god. Pope Francis' efforts actually retains the support of idealistic left-wing rich people who actually fund anything important. Just a slant to an education program here could radically alter the catholic church's adherence in places like South America.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:15 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pope shocked by bill that supports gay adoption.
posted by stoneweaver at 6:54 PM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Pope might support plans to make G. K. Chesterton a saint.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:02 PM on January 5


In enjoyed The Man Who Was Thursday, but not *that* much.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:51 AM on January 6


This seems a bit....dubious.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on January 6


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