X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Coffee House

Why Time’s Person of the Year should be Pope … Benedict

11 December 2013

11:24 AM

11 December 2013

11:24 AM

It seems that everyone agrees Pope Francis should be Time’s ‘Person of the Year 2013’. Better him than Miley Cyrus, at any rate, or Bashar al-Assad, and Francis deserves it, too. This year he has — forgive the media-speak — changed the narrative about Christianity in the liberal world. He’s spreading the Good News, not just reacting to the bad.

But Catholics have mixed feelings about all this acclaim for their new Pope. Peggy Noonan put her finger on the key point in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, when she suggested that Time would choose Francis because he is different ‘in ways Time’s editors and reporters find congenial’.

It was telling that, in their blurb about the nominees, Time announced that ‘the first Jesuit Pontiff won hearts and minds with his common touch and rejection of church dogma’. Of course Pope Francis has not rejected Church dogma at all. Time were quick to correct themselves, yet their mistake revealed again the liberal bias against Catholicism: Catholics are only praised if they are seen to rebel against their Church. This attitude makes Catholics distinctly uneasy. It can only be a matter of time before the journalists who now laud Francis turn on him. They will say he has disappointed them when he does not embrace all gay rights, condoms, and women popes.

[Alt-Text]


Which is why my person of the year, for what it’s worth, is not Pope Francis, but Pope Benedict XVI. Because he had the humility to realise he could no longer carry on leading the Church. Because he had the guts to resign, against all modern precedent, and make way for a more dynamic successor.

Because Pope Francis is in fact enjoying many of the fruits of his predecessor’s work. Benedict was not some right-wing pitbull: just like Francis, he continually stressed the importance of divine love, as well as the dangers of global capitalism, and he did not obsess over sexual matters. Benedict also did an enormous amount to bring about Christian unity by reaching out to the Orthodox, disgruntled traditionalists and Anglicans, and other denominations.

Because the secular media could never understand him.

But most had all because Benedict has had the astonishing grace to stay silent as the media falls in love with Pope Francis. He has not reacted — in public anyway — as the world decided that Francis’s humility and warmth was a sharp contrast to him and everybody  insinuated that, unlike the adorable Francis, Benedict was some sort of reactionary ego-maniac, when in fact he is the opposite.

So — Pope Benedict, man of the year 2013, for removing himself from the public eye and for keeping his mouth shut.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close