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Pope Francis: Priorities Make Him Person of the Year

I'm glad he beat out Edward Snowden and Ted Cruz! As I wrote over at Catholic moral theology, the Time article accompanying Pope Francis’ award of “person of the year” is an able, constructive, accurate piece that is a nice way to sum up the state of play after nearly a year. In its construction of the story, the article effectively distinguishes between talking about “change” and talking about “priorities.” Francis is not so much changing the Church as making clear determinations about the Church’s priorities… which also means “change,” but of a certain sort. I sort out a bit more about the difference between talking "priorities" and talking "change" in the full post.

About the Author

David Cloutier is associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary’s University and editor of He is the author of The Vice of Luxury (2015), Walking God's Earth: The Environment and Christian Ethics (2014), and Love, Reason, and God's Story: An Introduction to Catholic Sexual Ethics (2008). In fall 2016, he is starting a position at the Catholic University of America.



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Congratulations to Pope Francis! 

However, I'm reminded of what Allen Ginsberg said in his 1956 poem, "America":


"Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?"

A very fitting honor.

I didn't know he had been a bouncer.  My admiration for him just increased about fourfold.  When I was in formation, we belonged to a small faith-sharing group, consisting of five couples, led by a deacon couple.  A commonality: all of the men except me* had been bartenders at some point.   This link between taverns and public ministry is deserving of more in-depth exploration.

* I believe my patronage of watering holes, which was very substantial as a young man, compensates for my lack of behind-the-bar pastoral experience.

I'm still too angry that Time didn't name Hologram Tupac "person of the year" in 2012 to pay any heed to this.

Pope Francis is a mensch, at home in the real world.

He loved to tango.

I'm impressed by all the favorable media attention that Pope Francis has received over the last nine months or so. Being named now as Time's Person of the Year is also impressive.

Yeah, but there have been a lot of schmucks named person of the year. Like 2006, for instance.


I think they measure it by impact and not by saintliness. By that yardstick, schmucks have as good a chance as anyone else, maybe better than most. But not this year.

Yeah, there's definitely pandering and pot-stirring that go into selecting their Person of the Year.  Somehow, though, when it's our team being pandered to, it all seems pretty bearable.

I agree with the conclusion. The world is discovering through pope Francis what the word "pastoral" means.

The sight of Francis greeting parishioners outside the small Roman church was a lightening bolt for me. Goodby to Ermine aristocracy. Back to Nazareth. 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

They fact that Miley Cyrus was even considered diminishes the value of this award.


MILEY CYRUS ... she is famous for what exactly?  And does Time mistake notoriety for fame?

Diminishes it from what? It's Time Magazine--364 days out of the year it sits in a dentist's waiting room collecting coffee rings and dust.

Nevar Forget:

You go to a dentist that serves coffee?


Time Magazine claims that its Person of the Year is whoever has made the biggest impact on the world, for better or worse, in that year.

By that definition Osama bin Laden should have been Person of the Year in 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks.  Time chickened out and gave the award to Rudy Giuliani.

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