Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has strongly criticized the tone of “crudeness” directed to Benedict XVI in a recent article published in the “Rolling Stone” magazine on Pope Francis.
Although Pope Francis’ face appearing on the cover of the magazine’s latest edition is “a sign of the attention that the news of Pope Francis draws in different environments,” Fr. Lombardi emphasized that the rest of the article falls short of serious journalism.
“Unfortunately the same article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of superficial journalism, which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict,” the spokesman explained in his Jan. 29 statement.
In the Jan. 28 article “Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin,’” author Mark Binelli refers to the pontificate of retired pontiff Benedict XVI as “disastrous,” and even insults his appearance, stating that his looks resemble “a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares.”
Referring to the harsh criticism of Benedict’s appearance, character and even insults to his writings that are left without explanation in the 7,000 word piece, Fr. Lombardi noted that Binelli’s critique is done with “a surprising crudeness.”
“What a pity,” the spokesman lamented, “this is not the way to do a good service even to Pope Francis, who knows very well what the Church owes to his predecessor.”
Rolling Stone magazine was founded in 1967, and is a bi-weekly publication that gives particular attention to politics and popular culture. The magazine’s editors were also heavily criticized last year when the cover depicted the prime suspect in the Boston marathon bombings.
Despite Fr. Lombardi’s strong rebukes of the article’s journalistic quality, there has been no response from the magazine’s editors.