Oklahoma Catholics share sentiments about Time's Person of the Year: Pope Francis

Several Oklahoma City-area Catholic clergy and lay people expressed their thoughts about Pope Francis being named Time magazine's Person of the Year.
by Carla Hinton Published: December 14, 2013

A national magazine's recognition of Pope Francis is good news — just in time for Christmas, several Catholic leaders said this week.

Wednesday, Time magazine named the pope the 2013 Time Person of the Year.

“Christmas has come early this year,” said the Rev. William Novak, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 1901 NW 18.

“That a secular publication like Time would select a truly religious person like Pope Francis is a gift. He represents values like charity, faith and selfless giving in the example of Christ that are disregarded and undervalued in our modern world today.”

Pope Francis was selected by Time editors as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, for good or for bad, during 2013.

“Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly — young and old, faithful and cynical — as has Pope Francis,” Time Editor Nancy Gibbs wrote. “In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power.

“For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world's largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time's 2013 Person of the Year,” Gibbs said.

Joy and humility

Several local priests shared sentiments similar to Novak's, saying they were pleased to hear that the man charged with leading the world's estimated 1.2 billion Catholics has gained more public attention.

“I'm happy but I'm not surprised. The pope is reminding us that Christianity is, among other things, a religion of joy,” said the Rev. Bill Pruett, pastor of St. James the Greater Catholic Church, 4201 S McKinley.

“I think the world is looking for a fresh beginning. I think we're tired of some of the things we've been doing for the last several years. The pope is reminding us of our humanity so I'm excited.”

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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