Thursday, December 12, 2013

TIME's Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Yesterday, TIME revealed its Person of the Year - Pope Francis.

Many in the media reported the news as an "honor" bestowed upon the Pope, a "prestigious award."

After all these years, shouldn't media outlets know that TIME's annual selection isn't necessarily an "honor"?

TIME'S selection criteria:

TIME's Person of the Year is bestowed by the editors on the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year.
"Good or ill."

Adolph Hitler was TIME's Man of the Year in 1938.

Joseph Stalin was "honored" by TIME in 1939 and 1942.

Nikita Khrushchev was give the title in 1957, and Ayatollah Khomeini "won" the award in 1979.

Why isn't this yearly ritual, around since 1927, understood?

TIME is irrelevant.

It's not a magazine anymore. It's like a pamphlet. It's only a matter of time before the magazine itself is history, but that's another matter.

Back to Pope Francis--

I wish it were true that the Pope was the person "who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year."

I don't think that's true.

Pope Francis didn't most affect the news and our lives.

Yes, Pope Francis was the most talked about topic on Facebook this year, but that doesn't mean he embodied what was important about the year.

Do social media steer TIME's selection?

The fact is Christians and Catholics are routinely mocked and marginalized in the news. The notion that Pope Francis was the individual with the most influence on the events of 2013 is difficult to support.

It would be nice if a holy man truly affected our lives in 2013.

But whose lives?

The lives of Americans? The lives of global citizens? The lives of Catholics?

Whatever, I don't see a profound influence by Pope Francis on the country or the world. I don't see any ebb in secularism.

Is Pope Francis notable because he's the first non-European pope in 1,200 years? That's a rather superficial distinction, not important in terms of the lives of believers.

Pope Francis is the spiritual leader of roughly one billion Catholics, but I honestly don't see any significant impact or change in "our lives," meaning the people of the country or the world, collectively, because of him.

Did people behave in a more Christian manner in 2013?

If so, I missed it.