Pope Francis is a popular guy. As head of the Roman Catholic Church, one of the largest religious institutions in the world, Pope Francis has ushered in sweeping changes to the way the Catholic Church is doing business, bringing the Pontiff the honors as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2013.
Pope Francis, as leader of the largest Christian denomination, has butted heads with the traditional Catholic positions on a number of issues, including his attitude towards homosexuality and the LGBT community as a whole, saying “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge.” It is this attitude, in part, that led to Pope Francis being named 2013′s Person of the Year by noted LGBT publication The Advocate.
Joining Pope Francis among The Advocate’s finalists was LGBT activist Edie Windsor, who helped topple Section 3 of the United States’ Defense of Marriage Act, a landmark win in the quest for equality. Windsor was also a runner-up for TIME’s award as well.
“Edie Windsor is a hero, one well worth recording in history books that retell the story of DOMA’s demise. But she is not the Person of the Year. She couldn’t possibly be, not for The Advocate, where we celebrate the work of so many who contributed to that landmark Supreme Court victory,” read the announcement from The Advocate.
In naming Pope Francis, The Advocate first pointed out the number of people he leads; 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide. Pope Francis’s contrast to those who came immediately before him also played a role in his selection.
“Pope Francis’s stark change in rhetoric from his two predecessors — both who were at one time or another among The Advocate‘s annual Phobie Awards — makes what he’s done in 2013 all the more daring.”
But not everyone is thrilled with Pope Francis’s selection. Comments on the announcement range from confusion to outrage. Among the cleaner of them are opinions like Neil Roth’s.
“When this guy says, ‘If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?’ he didn’t say, suggest or even hint that the RCC accepts gay people. If we ‘seek the Lord with good will’ we are expected to confess our sin of homosexuality and to put it away by either changing or ignoring who we were created to be.”
Chris Sullivan asks, “The man says a couple of vague comments about our community, changes not one of its teachings and now he’s person of the year?”
Erik Wise wonders, “Is the Advocate run by a bunch of Catholics? Person of the Year for the LGBT community in 2013 is hands-down Edie Windsor. Not this papal numbskull.”
What do you think of Pope Francis being named Person of the Year by The Advocate? Should Windsor have been given the honors over Pope Francis?