Pope Francis has made a reputation for himself, as a liberal and understanding leader. And this week, the latest news on the iconic Pope was revealed; he will be gracing the cover of Rolling Stone's magazine for the month of February 2014. The headlines read 'The times they are a-changin’ and the magazine provides a profile titled 'Inside the Pope’s gentle revolution'.
The Pope is the 266th vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth, and probably one of the most popular. His statements about LGBT rights, the internet and even his declaration of war against free-market capitalism, has won the hearts of millions of worshippers across the world. His revelation regarding homosexual priests, "Who am I to judge?" , has struck a chord with thousands who have been protesting for their fundamental rights. And now, he will be the first Pontiff to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Previously, he had also appeared on the cover of magazines such as TIME, and was the TIME: Person of the Year, for the year 2013.
The feature was done by Rolling Stone magazine's contributing editor, Mark Binelli, who say that the election of Pope Francis was a breath of fresh air 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". Incidentally, Pope Benedict was the first pontiff in 700 years to resign from his post.
Pope Francis was born Jorge Bergoglio, in Buenos Aires. Today he is 77 years old, and his stands on issues are a welcomed break from the usual Vatican tradition, for example, investigations into possible corruption within the church and ofcourse, his stand on homosexuality.
One of the reasons for Pope Francis' popularity, is his unusual attitude and personality, as compared to his predecessors. The Argentinian Pope lives in simplicity, leaving the papal palace for a modest two-room apartment. He dresses without any of ostentatious accessories and shuns all the adornments Pope Benedict was famous for: including the ruby red shoes, gold cross, and gilded throne. Another difference between the two is the draconian stand the former took regarding homosexuality, as well as the current Pope's inclination to answer any question posed to him, including the shocking ones. Regardless, he manages to draw believers week after week. Every Wednesday, the faithful gather in St. Peter's Square for a general audience with the Pope. Since the election last March, the turnout at papal events has reached 6.6 million.
Earlier this week, the Pope released two doves from his apartments, as a symbol of peace and freedom. It backfired quickly when two other predatory birds began attacking the doves, and animal rights groups protested. And yet, the Pope's rising popularity is unobstructed; so much so that he may just become the most influential religious and spiritual leader of this century.