Time’s Person of the Year Simon the Likeable (Pope Francis 1st)

Readability

Time's Person of the Year Simon the Likeable (Pope Francis 1st)

Craig:his weight with the com­mon­ers could unbal­ance every­thing. The Bal­li­ols will kiss his ass, so we must.

Brave­heart 1995

He’s obvi­ously a nice man, there­fore a dan­ger­ous man. We don’t want nice men in the Vatican.

Richard Dawkins on Pope Francis

On the old Get Smart TV series there was a char­ac­ter called Simon the Lik­able played by tal­ented come­dian Jack Gil­ford. Simon was a KAOS agent described by the Chief thus:

That man is the most ruth­less cun­ning evil and treach­er­ous KAOS agent in the entire world… …and a heck of a nice guy

Simon was so lik­able that peo­ple could sim­ply not resist him. There is a famous scene where the Chief moves for­ward to arrest him and instead asks for a wal­let sized pic­ture of him to keep.

That’s all I could think of when I heard the news of Pope Fran­cis being named Time Magazine’s Per­son of the year.

At a time when the lim­its of lead­er­ship are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no king­dom beyond a tight fist of land in the mid­dle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of his­tory behind him, to throw down a chal­lenge. The world is get­ting smaller; indi­vid­ual voices are get­ting louder; tech­nol­ogy is turn­ing virtue viral, so his pul­pit is vis­i­ble to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a dis­fig­ured man or washes the feet of a Mus­lim woman, the image res­onates far beyond the bound­aries of the Catholic Church.

Now there is no ques­tion that Pope Fran­cis is an excel­lent choice, but when you read the long arti­cle about their win­ner it’s almost as if they choose him not because is a faith­ful shep­herd of the Catholic faith, but despite it:
Part of the con­ser­v­a­tive cri­tique is that Fran­cis’ words and ges­tures can­not be fully rec­on­ciled with the legacy of pre­vi­ous Popes. Appar­ently aware of that poten­tial for con­tro­versy, Fran­cis has been skill­fully cit­ing the writ­ings of for­mer Pon­tiffs, stress­ing con­ti­nu­ity. As the first Pon­tiff to be ordained a priest after Vat­i­can II, he has been gen­er­ous to the opin­ions of John XXIII, who con­vened that reformist coun­cil. But it is a del­i­cate task given that Fran­cis has one thing no Pope has had since the 15th cen­tury: a liv­ing pre­de­ces­sor. While Bene­dict resides in quiet retire­ment in the Vat­i­can Gar­dens, he remains a poten­tial ral­ly­ing point for those who fear that Fran­cis may hold the doc­tri­nal reins too loosely. So far, Fran­cis and Bene­dict appear to get on well: both men flat­ter each other, and Fran­cis was espe­cially gen­er­ous with quo­ta­tions from Bene­dict in his recent exhor­ta­tion. In any case, Fran­cis needs to keep his pre­de­ces­sor on his side, for it was Bene­dict who cod­i­fied the con­ser­v­a­tive views of John Paul II, the hero of many Catholics, par­tic­u­larly those on the right of the spectrum.

Of course we shouldn’t dis­count the cer­tainty of high sales for an issue fea­tur­ing Pope Fran­cis on the cover, par­tic­u­larly in the Latin com­mu­nity in their deci­sion but that last para­graph is the key. The press has done all they can to con­vince them­selves, evi­dence to the con­trary not with­stand­ing , that this Pope is some­thing other than what he actu­ally is. Like the Nobel com­mit­tee that essen­tially gave Barack Obama a peace prize for not being George Bush, the left in gen­eral has been cel­e­brat­ing Pope Fran­cis for not being Pope John Paul II or Pope Bene­dict. This selec­tion, Fran­cis’ life­long accom­plish­ments aside, brings that to mind.

But the truth is, if you con­sider the church your enemy (like Dawkins) this is another in a long line of dis­as­trous pos­i­tive media cov­er­age of this Pope. The time will come where the left will sim­ply not be able to tol­er­ate Fran­cis’ mes­sage and will demand the Media pivot before his My Chcemy Boga moment arrives.

In fact even in this writeup Time pre­pares for the moment that is to come:

It is impor­tant to remem­ber that Fran­cis has been Pope for less than a year, and a papacy can change char­ac­ter in mid­stream. In 1846, Pope Pius IX came to the throne as the great hope to lib­er­al­ize Catholi­cism but by the end of his pon­tif­i­cate had become the great cham­pion of con­ser­vatism — the font of infal­li­bil­ity and angry con­fronta­tion with sec­u­lar pow­ers like the new­born Ital­ian state. The entrenched dynam­ics of the church can trans­form the would-​be transformer.

When the left finally turns it will not be an out­cry against the first Latin Amer­i­can Pope, it will be a sigh of dis­ap­point­ment that the Church was just too strong and changed him.

The Irony? Fran­cis would agree, he would say that the love of Christ has changed him and will do his best to assist Christ and the Holy Spirit to make that change through­out the entire world.

Craig:  …his weight with the commoners could unbalance everything. The Balliols will kiss his ass, so we must.

Braveheart 1995

He’s obviously a nice man, therefore a dangerous man. We don’t want nice men in the Vatican.

Richard Dawkins on Pope Francis

On the old Get Smart TV series  there was a character called Simon the Likable played by talented comedian Jack Gilford.  Simon was a KAOS agent described by the Chief thus:

That man is the most ruthless cunning evil and treacherous KAOS agent in the entire world… …and a heck of a nice guy

Simon was so likable that people could simply not resist him.  There is a famous scene where the Chief moves forward to arrest him and instead asks for a wallet sized picture of him to keep.

That’s all I could think of when I heard the news of Pope Francis being named Time Magazine’s Person of the year.

At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge. The world is getting smaller; individual voices are getting louder; technology is turning virtue viral, so his pulpit is visible to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.

Now there is no question that Pope Francis is an excellent choice, but when you read the long article about their winner it’s almost as if they choose him not because is a faithful shepherd of the Catholic faith, but despite it:
Part of the conservative critique is that Francis’ words and gestures cannot be fully reconciled with the legacy of previous Popes. Apparently aware of that potential for controversy, Francis has been skillfully citing the writings of former Pontiffs, stressing continuity. As the first Pontiff to be ordained a priest after Vatican II, he has been generous to the opinions of John XXIII, who convened that reformist council. But it is a delicate task given that Francis has one thing no Pope has had since the 15th century: a living predecessor. While Benedict resides in quiet retirement in the Vatican Gardens, he remains a potential rallying point for those who fear that Francis may hold the doctrinal reins too loosely. So far, Francis and Benedict appear to get on well: both men flatter each other, and Francis was especially generous with quotations from Benedict in his recent exhortation. In any case, Francis needs to keep his predecessor on his side, for it was Benedict who codified the conservative views of John Paul II, the hero of many Catholics, particularly those on the right of the spectrum.

Of course we shouldn’t discount the certainty of high sales for an issue featuring Pope Francis on the cover, particularly in the Latin community in their decision but that last paragraph is the key.  The press has done all they can to convince themselves, evidence to the contrary not withstanding , that this Pope is something other than what he actually is.  Like the Nobel committee that essentially gave Barack Obama a peace prize for not being George Bush, the left in general has been celebrating Pope Francis for not being Pope John Paul II or Pope Benedict.  This selection, Francis’ lifelong accomplishments aside,  brings that to mind.

But the truth is, if you consider the church your enemy (like Dawkins) this is another in a long line of disastrous positive media coverage of this Pope.  The time will come where the left will simply not be able to tolerate Francis’ message and will demand the Media pivot before his My Chcemy Boga moment arrives.

In fact even in this writeup Time prepares for the moment that is to come:

It is important to remember that Francis has been Pope for less than a year, and a papacy can change character in midstream. In 1846, Pope Pius IX came to the throne as the great hope to liberalize Catholicism but by the end of his pontificate had become the great champion of conservatism—the font of infallibility and angry confrontation with secular powers like the newborn Italian state. The entrenched dynamics of the church can transform the would-be transformer.

When the left finally turns it will not be an outcry against the first Latin American Pope, it will be a sigh of disappointment that the Church was just too strong and changed him.

The Irony?  Francis would agree, he would say that the love of Christ has changed him and will do his best to assist Christ and the Holy Spirit to make that change throughout the entire world.