vanityfairpopeFirst Esquire gushed over Pope Francis, now Vanity Fair – albeit the Italian version – proclaims “Pope Courage” their Man of the Year. Is it ironic that a glossy glamor mag exalts a pope because of his simple lifestyle?

Bonus irony: Among those paying tribute in VF (or would it be IVF?) is Elton John:

“Francis is a miracle of humility in an age of vanity.”


Meanwhile, Francis is not happy about a statue of him that was erected in front of the Buenos Aires cathedral after his election. He wants it taken down. Check it out here and you might think his objection was more about vanity than humility. But I’m sure it’s the latter.

On the other hand, these Pope Francis standup cardboard cutouts are selling out.

Speaking of simple and humble, the pope is apparently taking his own advice and driving some version of a second-hand Ford Focus. Like a rock, you might say. Take that Chevrolet, with your old Bob Seger soundtrack.

Actually, everyone in the Vatican may be on a tight budget soon: A UN committee is planning to grill representatives of the Holy See about alleged cover-ups of sex abuse by clergy.

The nation’s Catholic hospitals say they are okay with the Obama administration’s fixes to the contraception mandate, which is a different take from the U.S. hierarchy and their allies who say the birth control policy is an assault on their religious freedom.

If things get really bad for believers in the U.S., Joshua Bowman at Catholic Vote has five options for self-exile – they are tiny Catholic outposts like Andorra and Malta, and some look pretty enticing whether you are going to be thrown to the lions or not. (The Vatican is not on the list. Why?) But an island in Canada is Bowman’s No. 1. Why do politically disgruntled Americans always choose Canada?

Heck, Christians can’t even go watch a really terrible movie like the new “Lone Ranger” flick without feeling under assault. So says our own popcorn eater Jeffrey Weiss.

These nuns hit the Jersey Shore when they want a break. That’s my own preference, too.

Though I like this wimpled-nun on the riding mower. Your Photo-of-the-Day candidate.

A review of “the Baptist Vatican” in Dallas – a $130 million: “Efficient and conscientious banality,” says Mark Lamster of the Morning News. Ouch.

That Samuel Adams beer ad controversy keeps fermenting. Our own Jonathan Merritt hops on the case with fewer bad puns and more gall.

There’s going to be a new, gay-free, socially conservative alternative to the Boy Scouts. They just haven’t figured out what to call it. “Lone Rangers” probably won’t be an option.

Speaking of homosexuality – and could a day go by without such a discussion? Indiana legislators have apparently passed a law making it a crime to “solemnize” a same-sex marriage. Thing is, many denominations do allow gay marriage. So isn’t that, like, curtailing freedom of religion?

Another quirky story: Satanists are arguing over whether they can be “pro-life” after that whole “Satan” chanting episode in Texas over the abortion ban. CNN”s Dan Burke, a helluva guy, has the story.

That huge Mormon-backed Mall in Salt Lake City seems to be another miracle in the desert. Not a place to shop for a Focus, but looks like fun.

Catherine Woodiwiss considers the plague – the scandal – of sexual assaults at Christian colleges. Powerful stuff, steep learning curve.

Another powerful reflection: Rod Dreher points to Christian blogger Tish Harrison Warren, who went from the excitement of evangelical radicalism to the challenges of everydayness:

A prominent New Monasticism community house had a sign on the wall that famously read “Everyone wants a revolution. No one wants to do the dishes.”

Check out this morning’s follow-up discussion.

True story: A summer camp you probably didn’t attend as a kid, this one trains missionaries for work in the Amazon. Wow.

Fake story: New England Pats coach Belichick to evangelical QB Tim Tebow: “I’m Your Lord And Savior Now”

But if you know Belichick, it sounds truthy.

And George Will has always been pretty much an agnostic,even though everyone thinks he is a Catholic or traditionalist Episcopalian – it’s the bow-tie and prep school vocabulary, plus the conservative punditry. But now he comes out as the nonbeliever he really is.

No fooling: Meet the next generation of Jewish magicians.

And finally, Ramadan Mubarak! Blessed Ramadan to our Muslim readers. Omar Sacirbey has the latest on the status of the new moon sighting.

Tough times in Egypt and elsewhere. Maybe the holy month will provide a time out for reflection?

Peace. David Gibson.


Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.


  1. Joseph Waheed

    Respected Pope Francis, Greeting in the name of Jesus Christ. I belong to Lahore Pakistan. I share some problem with you. The Principal Convent Of Jesus and Mary Sister Pilar Vila San Juan, terminate the teachers without any reason. By force get the resign.Not give the experience letter.Not give the all benefits. Threat the poor Christian teacher.Thanks and best regard.

  2. Francis has been a great example of how we should live in this world and he shows such humility. I don’t even think it would have mattered what faith he is a part of. If he was an atheist acting like that, I think he would still have been admired by many people because of his attitude and his gestures towards things.

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