The Pope rocks – or at least Rolling Stone thinks so.
Pope Francis will grace the cover of the music magazine’s Feb. 13 issue as part of an in-depth profile entitled, appropriately, “The Times They Are A-Changin’. ”
Indeed, they are, as this marks the first time a pontiff has graced the cover of Rolling Stone, following in the footsteps of recent cover models like Miley Cyrus.
It is the 77-year-old Pope’s status as a religious and cultural icon, who has not only able to mix modesty, humanness and likeability but also has helped galvanize the Catholic faith, which is the focus of Mark Binelli’s profile. (The story comes on the heels of Francis being named TIME‘s Person of the Year.) “Eventually, he moves to greet the crowd. Benedict, a dour academic, kept this portion of the general audience to a minimum,” Binelli writes, noting that attendance at papal events has tripled to 6.6 million since the election of Francis in March 2013. “But Francis, like Bill Clinton, thrives on personal contact, and he spends the better part of an hour greeting believers.”
The article continues: “Francis has consistently confounded expectations with the simplest of gestures: surprising desk clerks at the hotel where he’d been staying during the papal conclave by showing up to pay his own bill … cracking up cardinals with jokes at his own expense hours after being elected (to those assembled at his first official dinner as pope, he deadpanned, ‘May God forgive you for what you’ve done’).”
The article also tracks the Pope’s life, rise and views, including his recently famous quote of “Who am I to judge” gay people.
“Aside from the entirely mind-blowing fact of a supposedly infallible pope asking this question at all, his answer is never really translated properly,” writes Binelli. “What he actually says is, ‘Mah, who am I to judge?’ In Italian, ‘mah’ is an interjection with no exact English parallel, sort of the verbal equivalent of an emphatic shrug.”
Concludes Binelli: “My dad’s use of ‘mah’ most often precedes his resignedly pouring another splash of grappa into his coffee. The closest translation I can come up with is ‘Look, who the hell knows?’ If you watch the video, Francis even pinches his fingers together for extra Italian emphasis. Then he flashes a knowing smirk.”