The Advocate names Pope Francis its person of the year

The LGBT magazine followed Time's lead and named Francis its most influential person of the year

Published December 17, 2013 2:23PM (EST)

  (AP/Domenico Stinellis)
(AP/Domenico Stinellis)

A week after being named Time's "Person of the Year," Pope Francis has been given the title once again, only this time the distinction comes from prominent LGBT magazine the Advocate.

And much like Time, the Advocate argued that while the pope hasn't moved an inch on the Catholic Church's teachings on LGBT people, his shift in tone and emphasis around LGBT inclusivity is reason enough to honor him:

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.”


True to his word, Pope Francis hasn't used his biggest moments in the world spotlight to condemn LGBT people, as Benedict had done. At this time last year, Pope Benedict had just issued his message for the World Day of Peace — celebrated by the Catholic Church on New Year's Day. In it, he warned that efforts to allow gays and lesbians to wed "actually harm and help to destabilize marriage; obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society." Benedict described marriage equality as "an offence against the truth of the human person." By contrast, Pope Francis issued his first message for the World Day of Peace last week.

The Advocate also cites Francis' (mixed) record as a cardinal in Argentina as an indication that he may be a political ally in the ongoing struggle for LGBT justice:

As same-sex marriage looked on track to be legalized in Argentina, Bergoglio argued privately that the church should come out for civil unions as the "lesser of two evils." That's all according to Pope Francis's authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin. Argentine gay activist Marcelo Márquez backed up the story, telling The New York Times in March that Bergoglio "listened to my views with a great deal of respect. He told me that homosexuals need to have recognized rights and that he supported civil unions, but not same-sex marriage."


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Catholic Church Catholicism Civil Unions Gay Rights Lgbt Rights Marriage Equality Pope Francis