The winner of the 2013 Triple (Pointy) Crown—Time’s Person of the Year, Esquire’s Best Dressed Man of 2013 (Really!), AND Bible Funmentionable’s prestigious Pope of the Year Award—is former the chemical technician and bouncer, the BA from Buenas Aires, Pope Francis!
Granted, choosing Pope Benedict instead of Francis was about as likely as Obama winning Constitutional Law Professor of the Year. But Frances earned this award the way Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize—by having the guy in the job before you suck so bad in comparison.
What did he do that made headlines?
• He chose to not wear red shoes. (So did I, but am I Pope? [SDIBAIP])
• As archbishop he cooked his own meals. (SDIBAIP)
• He paid his hotel bill. (SDIBAIP)
• He took the bus. (SDIBAIP)
So he didn’t become Pope of the Year from those facts alone. Let’s try another list:
What did Pope Francis say that was apontifical? (And even angered conservative Catholics)
• “Proselytism is solemn nonsense”
• “If someone is gay…who am I to judge?”
• “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, and the use of contraceptive methods.”
• “An economy of exclusion and inequality…kills.”
• “Trickle-down theories …(have) never been confirmed by the facts.”
• “There are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites.”
• “I like it when someone tells me ‘I don’t agree.”
• “Every man is the image of God, whether he is a believer or not.”
• “I love tango.”
Since I have lampooned Pope Benedict in the past, I felt it was necessary to give Pope Francis credit where credit is due. When a church leader at the Pope’s level publicly seeks to find common ground with non-believers and non-Catholics instead of demonizing them, that small step is worth noting and encouraging.
And in that spirit, I’m not going to quote the Bible on what it says you should do to non-believers. Although the Pope would probably like to discuss with me those parts of the Bible where I say, “I don’t agree.”
The best news in all of this is having a religious leader who states that he personally openly welcomes dissenting views. If all religious people had this attitude the world would be a noticeably better place.
Michael Morris is the author of Bible Funmentionables: A Lighthearted Look at the Wildest Verses You’ve NEVER Been Told!, which features all of the shocking and hilarious verses that your minister, rabbi, or charismatic cult leader is afraid to preach.