Lead gay magazine picks Pope Francis as Person of the Year

Probably the most famous gay news magazine, the Advocate, has picked Pope Francis as its Person of the Year.

The Advocate’s standard for person of the year is to choose the “single most influential person of 2013 on the lives of LGBT people.” (LGBT is an onerous and ever-changing abbreviation used to mean lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and sometimes many others.)

Francis was also TIME’s choice for Person of the Year.

pope-francis-advocate-largeWhile Pope Francis hasn’t exactly changed church doctrine on gay people or gay rights, he has toned down the rhetoric, a lot.  And while sometimes rhetoric is “just words,” at other times words can have great power.  Such as when the most powerful religious leader in the world seems to suggest that his church may no longer hates your living guts.

The Advocate explains some of its thinking:

As pope, he has not yet said the Catholic Church supports civil unions. But what Francis does say about LGBT people has already caused reflection and consternation within his church. The moment that grabbed headlines was during a flight from Brazil to Rome. When asked about gay priests, Pope Francis told reporters, according to a translation from Italian, “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”


Francis’s view on how the Catholic Church should approach LGBT people was best explained in his own words during an in-depth interview with America magazine in September. He recalled, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

One good sign: Conservative Catholics, including the American cardinals, are starting to freak out.  That means they see something bigger happening here.  And if they see it, we should all pay attention.  Here’s more evidence as to why the conservatives are running scared:

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that an Italian Catholic LGBT group, Kairos of Florence, wrote a letter to the pope in June, asking for “openness and dialogue” and noting that lacking it “always feeds homophobia.” LGBT Catholics had written to previous popes, but Francis is the first to write a reply. Both sides have largely kept the content of their conversation private, except to note with a level of amazement that the pope gave the LGBT group his blessing.

In the end, we’ll see just how far the Catholic Church is willing to go.  The church has balked before when confronted with liberal popes.


Catholic Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez likes to refer to gays as “maricones,” the Spanish word for “f*ggots.”

And the church has a lot of making up to do to the world gay community, starting with finally punishing Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez down in the Dominican Republic who recently referred to the US ambassador nominee as a “maricon,” the Spanish word for “f*ggot.”

In the civilized world, you’d lose your job after using language like that about anyone.  So why does Lopez Rodriguez still have his?

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • cantake8


  • Thank you, my Mensa club thinks so.

  • It’s not about fawning ‘jerk’ it’s about insulting your host.

  • Setting it straight: ‘Jerk’ is for dissing the owner of this blog in a deliberate misreading that is rude and doesn’t fly here.

  • cantake8

    That is awesome!

  • cantake8

    Your eloquence is… a match for your mentality.

  • cantake8

    Agreed! Saying is not doing: what has this Pope actually DONE? As soon as Pope Franny calls for marriage equality in cathedrals, partner’s visitation rights in hospitals, and opens Catholic adoption agencies to gay and lesbian couples, then let’s start talking social recognition.

  • cantake8

    Did someone step on your sacred Pope?

  • At my Confirmation, the Bishop whose booze breath could be smelled a pew away, was befuddled and behind So, when I was Confirmed Marie Teresa instead of Joseph I knew that God knew I was gay.

  • ppppfffffttt

  • uhhuhh
  • Well, it was a stretch, but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

  • jerk

  • uhhuhh

    Yes, I too am fucking fed up with supposed liberals fawning over this bigot.

  • uhhuhh

    Please tell me John is not another of those gay Catholics so emotionally desperate for validation from that bigoted institution that they are celebrating a pope who just reaffirmed that they are nothing but “intrinsically disordered” and “evil” degenerates.

    The Advocate’s choice is indefensible.

    Next up: John endorses an anti-gay Republican for president because the Republican uses less hostile rhetoric but still has all the same positions.

  • AdamK

    I’m always surprised, when people mention the Advocate, that it still exists. Does anybody actually read it, or only refer to it when it does something breathtakingly stupid?

  • Steven Leahy

    Agree with you on 3/4 of your post but Obama, no matter how much you may not like him, has done infinitely more for LGBT people in this country than the pope has ever done for the gay community, anywhere. To compare the two is not only unfair but pretty ridiculous.

  • jamesnimmo

    Have people lost their friggin’ minds? Who needs approval from a man who owes his position to religious superstition. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day, but it’s still a broken clock.

  • I was 11 at the time and took the name Francis (How ironic!) for a Confirmation name. I ‘d always like the name, we had to take the name of a saint (so I took the name of three), and it was the middle name of RFK, who had been assassinated early that year. There’s no saint Robert.
    I never had problems with priests, but then I’ve always been taller than almost all the boys, so maybe they thought I’d fight back. In fact, a priest once sent me to a store to buy him cigarettes. At the time, it was not illegal to sell cigarettes to a minor in Pennsylvania, and I had a reputation to be trustworthy.

  • FLL

    In more nonsense from the Catholic Church, Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt has just been accused and is under investigation for groping some underage boy’s ass during a confirmation ceremony. I believe the usual age for confirmation is between 8 and 12. Archbishop John Nienstedt is famous for:

    (1) launching a mass mailing campaign of 400,000 anti-gay DVDs in 2010
    (2) creating a special “marriage prayer” to support for the anti-gay amendment on the state’s ballot last November
    (3) telling the mother of a gay son that she must reject him or risk burning in hell
    (4) saying that Satan is behind gay marriage

    Here are the two links both the story and the statement from the Catholic Archdiocese:


  • FLL

    Excellent nomination for Person (People) of the Year. If it has to be one person, let it be the author of the Court’s opinion, Anthony Kennedy.

  • Thom Allen

    Francis is just putting a more gentle face on the church’s anti-gay sentiments. Supposedly he’s removed a high-profile anti-gay cardinal from his post in the Vatican, told the prelates turn down the vitriol, responded to some LGBT issues, etc. Bit nothing in the underlying thrust of the church’s policies has changed. I think the bishops in Indiana have gotten the pope’s message. They issued a statement on Indiana’s proposal to amend its constitution by adding a ban on gay marriage. Most of the statement strongly supports heterosexual marriage. Part of the statement says:

    “With deep respect for all our brothers and sisters, we affirm the
    institution of marriage as the intimate communion of life and love
    between one man and one woman. Marriage is an intimate sharing of
    conjugal life and love. It involves the total gift of self in a
    partnership for the whole of life. Only by means of the complementarity
    between a man and a woman can this total gift of self be fully given and

    “We respect the equal dignity of all persons while upholding the uniqueness
    of the covenant of marriage as established by our Creator. The
    well-being of children, of the family, and of society is closely bound
    to the healthy state of marriage and respect for its true nature and
    purpose.” Then the bishops said that they “urged
    the people of Indiana” to “defend the dignity and truth about
    marriage, according to God’s plan and law, with charity toward all.”

    Translation: “God made marriage ONLY for a man and woman to mate and have children. Gays NOT welcome. Vote to ban gay marriage. But we really love you, gays. No hard feelings if we use our pulpits to deny you equality. Note that we’re not calling you names or performing exorcisms on you.”

    So, following the pope’s lead, we’re still second-class citizens (like women are) but there’s a hold on the nasty name calling. And for this, The Advicate names him “Person of the Year”? No, that’s insulting to too many other people who have done really positive things to make equality achievable.

  • So far we have words. Words are important. But for Pope Francis, previously Bishop Bergoglio of Argentina, he was adamant in stating that same sex marriage was evil. It would be nice if he at least addressed this discrepancy.

    Secondly, deeds are far more important than words. Francis has not announced any change in RCC teachings on homosexuality or its position that to be LGBT is inherently sinful and morally wrong.

    My nomination for the ‘Person of the Year’ for LGBT Americans isn’t one person but five: The five Supreme Court Justices who ruled to over turn Section 3 of DOMA. That one ruling has changed everything and resulted in a huge step forward for LGBT civil rights.

  • Cardinals and archbishops also tend to be further away from sanctity.

  • The Catholic Church has been in heresy since the Lateran Council, which ironically has made it the most successful corporation in world history. It’s brainwashing is impeccable,

  • Not to worry S1amer, once one hits 70 penises aren’t that much of a blessing.

  • Yes, well, it just proves you can’t trust a ouiji board.

  • Yep :-)

  • Well, now, give them a break — after all, Obama was awarded the prize before he’d actually DONE anything, so how were they to know?


  • mirror

    Like giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize…

  • FLL


  • You go Buddy!

  • Maybe the Church will find another miraculous event like Lourdes, but this time the Holy M. will appear with an X-box.

  • or the ‘ppphhhhffff’ raspberry button

  • Like Obama being given the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • Well done FFL!

  • bingo

  • That the ADVOCATE picked Pope Francis is not surprising. The ADVOCATE hides its log cabin tendencies by pretending it is actually a condo in LaJolla. Pope Francis has absolutely no desire or intention of making changes of any quality regarding GLTB communities. He simply a white Obama in a dress.

  • Ironically I’ve hade some exchanges with a reactionary who simply loves Mass in that sloppy Latin of the fourth century. As I recall, Mel Gibson had the Romans speaking that Vulgar Latin in place of the classical one. Nonetheless, he still spouts off “Non salus ex ecclesia”, which is what Boniface VIII spewed out in 1303 before Philip the Fair of France had him beat up, influenced the cardinals to elect a French pope, and it led to the Babylonian Captivity in Avignon for most of the fourteenth century. I’ve the opinion that Martin Luther really started around 1215 with the Fourth Lateral Council under Innocent III. It took three centuries, but a Reformation was coming.

  • There’s also the possibility that more moderate bishops eventually replace some of the reactionaries. Nonetheless, I used to be under Scranton, now I am under Philadelphia. Cardinals and archbishops tend to be further away from reality.

  • slappymagoo

    I don’t know how much I like Pope Francis, but I will be sadder when he’s gone than I’ve been with any other Pope in my lifetime.

    Of course, it’ll be sadder because he’ll probably be assassinated by homophobes who can’t square what he (and Christ) say about loving each other and turning the other cheek and their perceived sinful opinion and damnable fate of homosexuality

  • nicho

    Just because Pope Francis isn’t a total scoundrel doesn’t mean he deserves some sort of accolade.

    Well, we are into “lesser evilism,” in which we elect someone president of the US solely because they’re not as bad as someone imagines the other person might be.

  • nicho

    You know, John, maybe it’s time to drop the anonymous downvote thing. It’s pretty useless except as something to make the trolls feel like they’ve done something useful. Maybe you could replace it with something worthwhile — like an “ignore” button.

  • The headline should be that The Advocate needs to change their name, since they now give accolades to people for specifically not advocating for gay rights. Or human rights, for that matter.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Oh, come on. Just because Pope Francis isn’t a total scoundrel doesn’t mean he deserves some sort of accolade. He’s probably not even that important anyway; whatever he says matters less than the actions and policies of the eminences grises in the shadows behind him. In any case, praising him as a “man of the year” is a bit like nominating Tom Cruise for best actor just because he managed in one role to rise a little above his usual ineptitude.

  • FLL

    I never trust realpolitik because it employs no ethical principles, just Machiavellian manipulation. My only advice is for the secular side to use realpolitik as well; take advantage of the temporary moratorium on anti-gay hate speech that Pope Francis has initiated. Do not, however, make the mistake of letting your guard down. Francis may switch tactics down the road if it suits his purposes. At some point in the near future, for example, he may decide that winning converts in countries that are slowly moving toward gay rights is less important than winning converts in former British colonies in Africa, in which case a resumption of anti-gay rhetoric would be in order. Don’t trust realpolitik; just use its shifting manifestations to your advantage. As some have mentioned, Edie Windsor would have been a better choice for Person of the Year.

  • AnitaMann

    Word. Francis seems to be a big step forward… for the Catholic Church. And that’s nice. But a gay publication choosing him because he doesn’t think gays should be kicked in the face repeatedly, well, he’ll need to do a lot more to be a gay hero. Edith Windsor should have been a no-brainer.

  • Ryan

    A lot of it will depend on the local bishop. I doubt anything Pope Francis says will stop people like Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis (who lead the failed push for an amendment) or Bishop Paprocki of Springfield Illinois (who tried to exorcise the state) from continuing to act in a vile manner. However, it may mean that bishops inclined to be more tolerant won’t have to worry about the Vatican overruling them.

  • nicho

    Well, in The Advocate’s defense, they got fooled by Obama’s pretty speeches too. They’re apparently not very bright.

  • Ryan

    I wouldn’t have chosen him even though I have an overall positive opinion of Pope Francis. First, even my most optimistic guess about what effect he will have on the Catholic Church will be mostly about reducing the negative effects that it has on the lives of gay people rather than making it a positive force. Second, it is far too early to tell what the significance of these actions are. For example, he recently made significant changes to the committee that chooses bishops, but we won’t know the effect of this until we see who he chooses, and even if he were to choose the best possible men from our perspective, it will be a decade or more before a majority of existing bishops will be replaced. In the meantime, we are stuck with the same loathsome bunch we have right now.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Don’t be obtuse.
    I would be termed by most a liberal, except I usually don;t call myself that because I’m not that conservative.
    This blog and many other liberal and progressive blogs are hailing this man, the new official protector of the child rapists, the new enforcer of women-are-inferior, etc.

    I put liberal in quotes because anyone praising the Pope of the Catholic church who is progressive or liberal deserves to have their liberality questioned.
    I did NOT put the word hero in quotes, because I have not personally seen that word used, but I have seen plenty of cases of him being lauded, I’ve seen progressives and liberals literally say they love him, etc.
    So I used hero in quotes to paraphrase the fawning attitude many show.

    I don’t know what your issue is, unless you’re going to deny that many on the left are making fools of themselves over this guy. If you are, just read the damned post.

    If your problem is you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and just need to pick a fight with a commenter, I am not your spouse – I can’t retaliate by burning your morning toast, so take it elsewhere.

    I’ve already given your pointless and point-avoiding comment far more attention than it deserves.

  • Ninja0980

    The Pope is a con artist. If you listen to what he actually said and see what the church is doing around the world in regards to gay rights,he hasn’t changed a darn thing,only put a nicer spin on it.
    And it’s sadly working,hence the reason he was given this award which he DOESN’T deserve in any way shape or form.

  • nicho

    Yeah, my advice to The Advocate editors would be not to play poker for money.

  • cole3244

    i would remind the advocate that capitulate is spelled as so.

  • StraightGrandmother

    The Advocate did not do enough Due Diligence.

    In October the Pope called an extraordinary meeting in Rome on the Family.

    Cardinal Dolan was pleased as punch and said that the Pope Agrees that they should STILL continue their current Public Policy endeavors. Here is the money quote by Dolan interviewedin Rome

    Francis’ recent warning against overemphasizing moral teachings against
    abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception means that U.S. bishops
    should emulate his positive approach to evangelization, not shift the
    priorities of their public policy agenda, said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
    of New York.

    All Pope Francis is doing is putting a softer spin on gay hatred.

    AND He is telling his Cardinals & Bishops to keep up the good secular work they are doing fighting to deny sexual minorities Equal CIVIL Rights. In other words, be sweet to your faces and stab you in the back at City Hall. I’m not impressed.


  • nicho

    Don’t read The Advocate and glad of it. Apparently, they’re pretty easily fooled. Not what I would consider a credible source.

  • I am not as impressed with this pope as others may be. He’s making nice right now, but that’s because the very survival of the RCC (and other churches) in the coming years is at stake. To me, it’s telling that one of the very first orders of business that he had was to straighten out the church’s finances.

    Younger people (I’m speaking those in their teens and 20s) mostly find religion and belief in a god to be irrelevant to them. I have to say that this pope is smart, he probably sees the writing on the wall. He has to soften the tone if he has any hope of enticing the younger folks to join the church. Unfortunately for the church, the anti-gay bias is only part of it. The younger folks whom I talk to say things like “how could anybody believe this stuff?” They’re educated, have read both the bible and history, and find it unbelievable. They also know very well of the RCC’s lack of action when it comes to punishing pedophile priests, and view the RCC leadership as being hypocrites.

    That’s a big mountain to climb. Religion is relegated to being something embraced by some older people, and we are on our way out. It will take a long time, but I honestly think that modern religions will come to be regarded the same way that the ancient Greek gods are regarded by modern Christians – part of history, but not part of the real world.

    Selecting him as the “Person of the Year” is not the best choice. I think, as others have suggested, Edie Windsor was a good candidate. She was one of a few people (another being our President) who started a world-wide conversation and a movement toward gay acceptance. Pope Francis has effectively said “let’s not be so mean in our speech, but not change our policy”. That’s not real acceptance, it’s lip service. It may sound better than the RCC’s past rhetoric, but it’s not as world-changing as those running “The Advocate” might think. Further, it’s a symptom of changing attitudes about LGBT people, not causative.

  • Indigo

    He’s a pope. He’s also, apparently, a nice guy who fooled around and almost got married before he decided to become a Jesuit. He’s the first pope in my life time who appears to have actually had a life before ordination and now, lo and behold, there he is, sitting on the papal throne. He’s 77 years old today so Happy Birthday to him, and best wishes for many more. Maybe he’s got 5 more years as an effective personality before St. Oldage catches up with him. Yes, he’s changed the style of the narrative but no, he hasn’t changed the plot line. He’s a good omen for the 21st century, maybe an exemplar of awareness of social diversity that Catholics need to grasp if they’re to live graciously into this century. Otherwise, things might get nasty. There’s a sense, as far as I can see, in which Pope Francis is offering the Church a way out of an inquisitorial cul-de-sac the emeritus pope backed them into. What’s next? Living quietly and keeping out of other people’s business, if they’re smart.

  • HereinDC

    Since you quoted the word “liberals” Then please find the articel(s) where you say he is being quoted as a “hero”.

  • Jafafa Hots

    oh come on.

    Stop it with this crap, “liberals.”
    This man is no hero.

  • Bomer

    He already did when he was a cardinal in Argentina:

    “In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose
    outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and
    survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the
    lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and
    deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and
    willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in
    our hearts.

    Let’s not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a
    destructive proposal to God’s plan. This is not a mere legislative
    proposal (that’s just its form), but a move by the father of lies that
    seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God… Let’s look to St.
    Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the
    Argentine family in this moment… May they support, defend, and
    accompany us in this war of God. (July 2010)”

    So marriage equality is from the debil and he also called it a “real and dire
    anthropological throwback.” He has also stated both as a bishop and pope
    that homosexual practice is intrinsically immoral. Sure, we should be
    treated nice because, you know, hate the sin not the sinner. He also said that gay adoptions are a form of discrimination against children. So nothing’s changed.

    People just desperately want to believe that it has.

  • dcinsider

    Don’t hurry back. The other shoe has yet to drop.

  • dcinsider

    Thank you. How can you NOT select Edie Windsor? Or at least her lawyers, or at least the Prop 8 attorneys Boise and Olson, who did more to change our lives than most gay people, and certainly more than a non-gay-bashing pope.

  • S1AMER

    I suspect they’ll come to regret this.

    Yeah, Francis is saying we shouldn’t constantly be kicked around because we’re gay. But — mark my words — before much longer he’ll come out with some statement about how we’re still worthless sinners deservedly doomed to hellfire for all eternity. He may say it with a nice smile on his face (unlike Ratzinger), but that’s what he’ll say.

    Oh, and if you’re a lesbian, you can look forward to this pope saying, as have his predecessors, that all us women are not worth much but babymaking and other womanly tasks, and that all the brainy stuff and leadership generally must, of course, be left to those blessed with penises.

  • This is bullshit and a slap to the face of Edith Windsor. Seriously, just what has this Pope done for LGBTs? Yeah, he is way better than the last pope and I remain hopeful that he will bring much needed changes to the church.

    But person of the year for LGBTs? NO.

    Another example why I stopped reading The Advocate more than 20 years ago.

  • You know what? Let’s not get crazy here.

  • It’s curious. If the rhetoric demanding I vote as they dictate tones down, I might just come back after twentytwo years. How much do I find the Augustinian perversion of sex distasteful. It’s so bad that virgins go to hell in their doctrine for manustupration. Well, Vatican Catholic, a reactionary group who holds the popes since Vatican II as heretics, goes even further, sounding like Fred Phelps.

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