As it does every year, Time magazine has released its list of the world’s 100 most influential people and this year’s list does not include Pope Benedict XVI. Vatican spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi, says that he is “very happy that the Pope isn't on the list” because the criteria used by Time do not accurately gauge his influence.
This year’s list includes an eclectic selection of people, ranging from the Dalai Lama to the U.S. pop singer Miley Cyrus. Yet the absence of Pope Benedict is notable in a year when he has played such a major role on the world scene.
''I'm very happy that the pope isn't on the list, because they have used criteria that have absolutely nothing to do with the evaluation of the pope's religious and moral authority,'' Fr. Lombardi said in reaction.
''It's difficult to draw comparisons and establish rankings with very different characteristics: there are actors, tennis players and so on,” he noted.
''For that reason I think it's positive not to confuse the pope's kind of authority and service with other criteria of a worldly nature,'' he added.
The inclusion of the Dalai Lama in the list was ''another matter'', Lombardi said.
However, Giovanni Maria Vian, Director of the unofficial Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, said that the absence of the Holy Father from Time’s list is "perplexing". Especially since the list is defined as being made up of "the hundred men and women whose power, talent and moral example are transforming the world."
In Vian’s opinion, no newspaper would have accepted this list, which cites "absolutely implausible names."