Adrienne BoettingerFriday,20 December 2013

The Snap:

What do you get for the pope who has everything? Or to be more precise, what do you get for the pope who is winning awards and hearts left and right (or at least left), and eschews material possessions? It is a toughie. He already has his own used car and he spent his 77th birthday having breakfast with four homeless men.  Time and The Advocate named him Person of the Year.  He’s got a metric buttload of Twitter followers. After searching high and low for a suitable token of appreciation, I have awarded him the first ever Anti-Jackassery Award.

The Download:

Grudgingly, I have to admit that this new pope is growing on me. I certainly didn’t want to like him — I’ve been pretty clear about my feelings about the church’s misogyny and prejudices. But the bleeding heart in me has a hard time resisting the depth of his empathy for the poor. And it’s difficult for anyone to not admire a leader who doesn’t just talk the talk, but walks the walk.

Let’s be clear: he’s not perfect. His record during Argentina’s very troubled past is questionable and it’s not like he’s reversed millenniums of church teachings about the wrongness of anyone who isn’t a married heterosexual Catholic or living a life of celibate religious vocation. But if we waited for any of our leaders (or ourselves) to be perfect, we’d be waiting for a pretty damn long time.

Watching his affection for the many varieties of humanity — even if they are of a different religion, sexuality, or trying to swipe his papal skullcap — it is pretty hard not to be charmed or even inspired. His leadership is a soothing balm for a church that has been ailing for decades. The question is how far will influence spread? Will this new breed of pope inspire other religious and world leaders to focus their words and deeds not on the differences that could separate us but on our shared humanity, and putting the needs of others before themselves?

You know a person has to be awesomesauce if Rush and Glenn are hating on him. Yes, the pontiff has provoked the ire of the dystopic duo by expressing an opinion that seems to lessen the value of wealth and de-anthropomorphize corporations, saying “Money must serve, not rule!” No, you spittle-flinging, off-the-handle-flying loons; this does not mean he’s suggesting all property be nationalized and divided equally. He won’t be driving up to your mansions in the Popemobile to take away your golden toilet paper or assault weapons you use to hunt the poor. But nor is he going to let himself or his priests live large while people are going hungry.

For fighting the forces of jackassery at many turns, I bestow upon Pope Francis the first ever Anti-Jackassery Award. And there was much rejoicing.

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Hat Tips:

Fox NewsWashington PostPoliticoNew York TimesThe Globe and MailBuzzfeedNPRTelegraph, Image Credit: Flickr

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