Pope Francis was named Time magazine’s 2013 ‘Person of the Year’ earlier today, beating out the likes of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Miley Cyrus for the title.
Calling him “The People’s Pope,” Time had this to say about the newly elected pontiff:
[W]hat makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), ‘the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.’ In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church—the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world—above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors.
On radio this morning, Glenn found himself questioning the decision. While the election of Pope Francis was met with significant fanfare, and his words and behavior have received tremendous attention, Glenn thought there were stronger candidates for the title.
“Pope Francis has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year. Huh,” Glenn said. “It makes me nervous about the pope, quite honestly, when the press runs to make him Time magazine’s Man of the Year.”
When Pope Francis was first elected in March, Glenn spoke of how taken he was with Pope Francis’ humility. But like many conservatives and libertarians, Glenn’s primary concern with Pope Francis stemmed from some of the language he has used in the past when discussing the poor and economic inequality. Glenn echoed those same concerns this morning:
I'm a little concerned about who this pope is. I've gone back and forth on this. We've talked about it. I think most people are a little concerned. If you pay attention to what is really going on, if you know anything about liberation theology, if you know that it came from his part of the world, if you know what a Jesuit is and what they have done to the Catholic church, and you look at this guy, he's a Jesuit. Now everybody says, you know, are you a good Jesuit or a bad Jesuit? And he is supposedly a good Jesuit.
He seems like a remarkable man. He seems like a man who understands the touch of Christ, if you will, the hand of Christ, how to be good, decent, loving. I love that about him. However, he makes me a little concerned on his Marxist tendencies. We were talking about it in the morning meeting today, and I was saying, ‘Okay, now, let's just go through this here for just a second. Let's look at what we have.’
Glenn explained that you must always be weary of someone who is remarkably on point when reading prepared remarks, but starts to reveal more ideologically extreme positions when forced to answer questions off the cuff. In this respect, Glenn likened Pope Francis to President Obama.
“[President Obama’s] prepared remarks are always great, but… when he says something [himself], it is always like, you know, redistribution of wealth. That's what's going on with this pope,” Glenn said. “When he is off the cuff, he talks about redistribution of wealth. When he has had someone else prepare a radio address for him, it's not redistribution of wealth, and it's clear.”
As an example, Glenn pointed to Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel,” as cause for concern. While the word ‘capitalism’ is not used explicitly in the writing, Francis infers his issues with greed and inequality.
“When he writes something himself – the latest thing that was out was all about how bad capitalism is,” Glenn said. “That's the first thing that he has penned himself. Hmmm. So who is this guy?”
For these reasons, Glenn does not believe Pope Francis was most deserving of Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ title. Instead, he saw two people in American politics as better choices.
“I think there's two. I think there's two, and I would have considered splitting it myself,” Glenn said. “I think you could split it: Ted Cruz and Kathleen Sebelius because if you like one, you hate the other. But those are the two.”
In Glenn’s opinion, Obamacare was the most hot button issue of the year, and Sen. Cruz and HHS Secretary Sebelius were at the forefront of the debate. As Glenn sees, Obamacare is not simply an American issue, it’s implementation and success has global implications:
Those two are going to affect not only your life but every life on the planet… Either [Obamacare is] the greatest thing, and it does fundamentally transform the world in a positive way, if Kathleen Sebelius and the President are right. Or, if Ted Cruz is right, it destroys.
How much money are we going to be sending over to Africa for AIDS? How much cheap medicine are we going to be producing for the rest of the world? We pay high prices, but Americans, you should understand, it's only because you're the richest 1% of the world. So of course you're paying high prices, and the rest of the world is paying lower prices for their prescription drugs. But that's only because you're the top 1% of the world. Don't you like it when people gouge the rich? So those two are going to affect your life, your job, your children, your health, and the health of everyone on the planet.
So why did Time magazine shy way from naming a political figure this year?
“Now maybe Time magazine just didn't want the controversy, but I don't buy that at all. They love the controversy. The reason why they didn't pick Ted Cruz is because they don't want to give him any more power,” Glenn concluded. “I mean… they did make Hitler and Mussolini the man of the year. Now, Hitler [wasn’t] man of the year in a positive way, but Mussolini [was]. Remember, progressives are fascists… They considered Assad. But I can tell you right now, they may have put Ted Cruz in the little pool to have his name looked at, but nobody seriously considered him… And he's the guy who's going to effect our life, your life, much more than anybody else.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP