The Pope – Like Obama – is wrong for Time’s Person of the Year

Nancy Gibbs of Time Magazine is impressed by Pope Francis’ humility. After all, he is their person of the year.  As if that’s not an oxymoron—a spiritual person being named a paparazzi-type icon.

Flaunted humility is the arrogance of showing off your modesty. The Pope dresses modestly, lives humbly and coddles the poor and diseased. It is as much a desire for attention as bragging.

He also has the Obamesque ability to pretend he knows something about everything. He comments on wealth and poverty when he is not an economist, he intercedes in fairness and justice when he is not a judge, he discusses transparency when he is not a psychologist, modernity when he is from an old fashioned tradition, globalization when he is stuck within the miniature confines of Catholic teaching, the role of women when he has no amorous experience, the nature of marriage when he is single and the temptations of power when he is a dedicated climber within institutional walls.

popePOY2Nancy Gibbs is impressed that “when he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.”  Frankly, I am tired of stunts of humility and obeisance to the disfigured. Kissing the disfigured is a lie.  Pope Francis is transmuting ugliness into beauty in order to prove his own worthiness. Elevating the poor and ugly is putting the false morality of rose colored glasses on your nose.  It is not necessary.  Accept the disenfranchised for what they are.  Love them if you will but don’t pretend that Lisa Doolittle is Audrey Hepburn. And don’t pretend that Audrey Hepburn is really singing her own songs.

Gibson says that “In less than a year, he has done something remarkable: he has not changed the words, but he’s changed the music. Tone and temperament matter in a church….”  They gave Obama the same award for his tonal changes, his false compassion and fake pacifism. He also walked off with the Time Person of the Year Award and the Nobel Prize for nothing.  As if tone matters.  It’s deeds that are tonal.  We need the music of accomplishment not the placebo tunes of Obama and Francis.

Francis taking a page out of Obama’s superficial playbook attacked “the idolatry of money.” He doesn’t realize that capitalism is the key to civilization and that ambition depends on the possibility of making money.  Financial inequality represents the possibility of equaling things out.  The wider the divergence the more hope.  Distance is closeness when it promises ambition.

And Gibson boasts that “This is a man…(who) lives not in the papal palace surrounded by courtiers but in a spare hostel surrounded by priests…. He has retired the papal Mercedes in favor of a scuffed-up Ford Focus.”  Hey, give me the papal powers and I’d be glad to retire a papal Mercedes.  Everything he denies materially is so that he can elevate himself in the hierarchy of spiritual powers and the church.

Gibson says about the Pope when, “Asked why he seems uninterested in waging a culture war, he refers to the battlefield. The church is a field hospital, he says. Our first duty is to tend to the wounded.” Not true. He divides and wounds by criticizing  the “idolatry of money.”  It’s the old Obama game—bruise the wounds between the rich and the poor.  Create class hatred.  And yet the Pope and Obama live like kings. Obama physically and the Pope spiritually.  Who wouldn’t give up material things to have over a billion followers? The Pope is a glutton for mass love.

And yet two peas in a pod, the Pope and the President praise sharing and communality while they live like Soviet Dictators. The Pope can kiss as many feet as he wants, he is still a step from God’s grandeur.

And Obama can read as many teleprompters as he wants about equality, he still lives in a mansion and is a millionaire.

The Pope’s efforts to be saintly are false. He is a narcissist without Obama’s pomp and circumstance. Give us a basic guy who is a leader.  Give us someone who doesn’t sneak into the men’s room and look in the mirror saying, “Looking good, brother.”  Then turns to make sure no one is watching.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

David Lawrence

David Lawrence

David Lawrence has a Ph.D. in literature. He has published over 200 blogs, 600 poems, a memoir “The King of White-Collar Boxing,” several books of poems, including “Lane Changes.” Both can be purchased on He was a professional boxer and a CEO. Last year he was listed in New York Magazine as the 41st reason to love New York.

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