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ROME (RNS) Francis is the third pope to be honored by Time since the magazine began selecting Person of the Year in 1927, following Pope John XXIII in 1962 and Pope John Paul II in 1994.


  1. Francis deserves covers and much more. He is displaying a great and healthy reformation in a church that was somewhat damaged by Paul VI, the Vatican “Hamlet,” and badly damaged by many long years of retrograde work into a religious monarchy by John Paul II and Benedict.

    As the electing cardinals who stayed on with John Paul after his selection sang in toasting him to celebrate that event, “Ad Multos Annos!” John Paul did have “multis annos.” In fact, sadly, he should have preceded Benedict in retiring when it became obvious that he was no longer up to the job.

    Francis is obviously master of the job, the job is not mastering him. There are certainly more than enough thundering signals in the church that things need to change. Francis has recently said that Vatican II was only half-implemented. Sadly, John Paul and Benedict “reformed the reform” of even that half and we must now start from scratch.

    A great start would be to hand over the development of a vernacular ritual to the “people of God” in each country. They are fully competent. They know much better than any Vatican-appointed group of rigid Latinists what their vernacular should be. And those language masters are by no means exclusively clergy.