Pope Francis got his picture "The Cover of 'Rolling Stone," released yesterday in issue #1202 (Feb. 13, 2014 issue). Pope Francis is in really good company with other rock stars and cultural icons like Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison of the Doors, David Crosby (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), Muhammad Ali, Tricia Nixon and hundreds of others.
It is fitting, since Pope Francis is indeed a "rock star," who draws huge crowds and makes a sort of musical connection with people around the world. Attendance at his concerts, oops audiences, has tripled to 6.6 million over the pope he succeeded, Pope Benedict XVI. It should be pointed out that the cover story is not kind to the former pope.
Getting your picture "On the cover of the Rollin' Stone" says you have arrived and are accepted by the younger generation, which is now aging fast and likely collecting their Social Security benefits and are far too old to even sign up for Obamacare (over 65 years of age). A song was even written, composed and published titled "The Cover of the Rolling Stone."
From the song made famous and first recorded by American rock group Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. The song, "The Cover of 'Rolling Stone" was written by Shel Silverstein, the songwriter who was just as famous for his iconic children's books.
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone
The cover story about Pope Francis and getting his picture "On the cover of the Rollin' Stone," addresses gay issues and calls his nearly year-old pontificate "revolutionary."
The story touches on the pope's rapprochement with LGBT Catholics. The Rolling Stone's writer, Mark Binelli, adds context to the pope’s now-famous "Who am I to judge?" comment.
Binelli summarizes a video of the press conference where the remark came. Pope Francis is asked about the existence of a "gay lobby" within the Vatican. In character, Pope Francis makes a joke, saying he hasn't yet run into anyone with a "special gay identification card."
The pope turns serious, says Binelli, gesturing for emphasis and says it's important to distinguish between lobbies, which are bad — "A lobby of the greedy, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of Masons, so many lobbies!" He discusses individual gay people who are well-intentioned and seeking God and then makes his famous remark.
"Who am I to judge?"
Binelli, who is of Italian-American heritage, says the mind-blowing fact of a supposedly infallible pope asking this question at all, his answer is never really translated properly.
Binelli says what the pope actually says is "Mah, who am I to judge?"
Binelli says "In Italian, 'mah' is an interjection with no exact English parallel, sort of the verbal equivalent of an emphatic shrug. My dad's use of mah most often precedes his resignedly pouring another splash of grappa into his coffee."
Binelli says the closest translation is "Look, who the hell knows?"
But the piece and the subject did not amuse the Vatican. Pope Francis himself didn't comment on the piece.
Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has denounced the coverage of Pope Francis in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine, describing it as "superficial journalism."
In a statement, Father Lombardi said, "Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling in the usual mistake of a 'superficial journalism,' which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict, and does so with a surprising crudeness."
The latter was a reference in the article about Pope Benedict. Binelli says that "After the disastrous papacy of Benedict, a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares."
One thing is clear. Pope Benedict XVI will not get his picture on "On the cover of the Rollin' Stone."
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