The Advocate, a leading gay magazine, has named Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” for 2013.
The magazine’s December cover features a photo of the pontiff with “NOH8” stamped on his cheek and his quote, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge.”
The ironically opposed-to-gay-marriage religious leader beat out Edie Windsor, the plaintiff who won her Defense of Marriage challenge at the Supreme Court this year.
According to The Advocate, the selection of the pope stems largely from his words of acceptance for gay people, representing a shift in the church’s rhetoric toward the LGBT community.
“The remaining holdouts for LGBT acceptance in religion, the ones who block progress in the work left to do, will more likely be persuaded by a figure they know. In the same way that President Obama transformed politics with his evolution on LGBT civil rights, a change from the pope could have a lasting effect on religion,” The Advocate explains.
Highlighting Pope Francis’ contention that people should not judge gay people who are seeking God, The Advocate writes that his words “became a signal to Catholics and the world that the new pope is not like the old pope.”
True to his word, Pope Francis hasn’t used his biggest moments in the world spotlight to condemn LGBT people, as [Pope] Benedict had done. At this time last year, Pope Benedict had just issued his message for the World Day of Peace — celebrated by the Catholic Church on New Year’s Day. In it, he warned that efforts to allow gays and lesbians to wed ‘actually harm and help to destabilize marriage; obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.’ Benedict described marriage equality as ‘an offence against the truth of the human person.’ By contrast, Pope Francis issued his first message for the World Day of Peace last week.
Brotherhood, he said, ‘is the foundation and pathway of peace.’ He retold the story of Cain and Abel as an example of humanity’s failure to recognize its brothers and instead find enemies. ‘In Christ, the other is welcomed and loved as a son or daughter of God, as a brother or sister, not as a stranger, much less as a rival or even an enemy. In God’s family, where all are sons and daughters of the same Father.’ He went on, ‘All men and women enjoy an equal and inviolable dignity. All are loved by God.’
This is the second time Pope Francis has been named “Person of the Year” for 2013. Time Magazine named Francis its “Person of the Year” last week.