Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/2/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

In this new missionary age of the Catholic Church, I say the same. All Press is good press. For the times really are a changing. But not in the way Mark Binelli thinks.

Rolling Stone Magazine hit the newsstands this morning with the picture of Pope Francis on the cover. The lead article by Mark Binelli entitled Pope Francis:The Times They Are A-Changing  has caused such a stir that the magazine has raised eyebrows - and may actually make a profit. Of course, the writer hoped it would reinforce the absurd thesis he thinks he can support in this silly, poorly researched article. He thinks the times they are a-changing means the Catholic Church and her message is changing.He is wrong, but all Press is good press in this new missionary age.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

2/2/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Rolling Stone, Pope Francis, Dr Hook, Cardinal Bergoglio, Mark Binelli, Catholic, anti-Catholic, Vatican, Man of the Year, entertainement, Deacon Keith Fournier

WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Rolling Stone Magazine hit the newsstands this morning with the picture of Pope Francis on the cover. The lead article by Mark Binelli entitled Pope Francis:The Times They Are A-Changing  has caused such a stir that the magazine has raised eyebrows - and may actually make a profit.

Of course to an aging boomer like me, the use of the title of a counter-cultural anthem on the 1964 album by Bob Dylan of the same name was obvious. It did what so many songs can do, called the lyrics right back to my mind.  The first verse says enough:

Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Of course, the writer hoped it would reinforce the absurd thesis he thinks he can support in this silly, poorly researched article. He thinks the times they are a-changing means the Catholic Church and her message is changing.

You have heard it in all of its various iterations in many other media sources. In short, that this Pope named Francis is not like the other old pointy-headed popes who did not see the light of the agenda which calls itself progressive these days.

Further, that somehow Francis is going to be the one who changes the Catholic Church to conform to the vision of the liberated western culture as championed by those who seek to jettison the Natural Moral Law. He will be the one to discard the Catholic insistence on the Right of the child in the womb to be born rather than aborted.

Further, that he will throw off the old claims concerning the normative nature of the two parent heterosexual, monogamous marriage as the foundation of family and society. Finally, that he will be the one who jettisons the myriad of other unchangeable moral teachings of the Catholic Church and the Bible and the unbroken tradition upon which she stands.

It was also laced throughout with the effort to disparage Pope Benedict XVI in a shameful way by painting a caricature of that holy, humble, gentle and professorial Pope as autocratic and enamored with the trappings of his office, implying he lived in some kind of nest of luxury. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is not only nonsense; it is the cut from the same old anti-catholic screed we have had to deal with many other times in American history.

Then, there is the effort to set up a straw man, to contrast Benedict and Francis - when the two are friends and Francis regularly cites his predecessor with admiration and esteem. It is equally frustrating.

Any reporter who actually took the time to read  Francis, in his encyclical letter Lumen Fidei  (The Light of Faith) or his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)  would not make such a patently false assertion.

Francis continues in his teaching and papal writings the trajectory which Benedict offered during his own service in the Chair of Peter. Both continued the trajectory of Blessed John Paul II and the Second Vatican Council, rightly understood.

Benedict taught what Francis continues to teach. He also bore witness to the beauty of that teaching, only in a quiet, professorial and different way. That is before, in the final act of the humility which characterized his pontificate, Benedict stepped aside to spend his final years living as a monk and praying for Francis and the Church - and following the Savior they both love.

I could go on, but you get the point. I think this article was awful. Fortunately, the Vatican spoke out immediately. The best summary of the reaction of Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, the head of the Press Office of the Holy See, was offered in this formal, public release on Vatican Radio:  

The lengthy cover piece dedicated to Pope Francis in the February 13 edition of the popular Rolling Stone magazine has made its way around the world. The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, praises the article's appearance, saying, "[The piece] is a sign of the attention that the novelties of Pope Francis attract from many different quarters."

Fr Lombardi SJ goes on to say, "Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which, in order to shed light on the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it needs to describe the pontificate of Pope Benedict in a negative way, and does so with a surprising crudeness." Fr Lombardi SJ adds, "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."

What Fr Lombardi politely called "superficial journalism" has been practiced in many other media circles, including certain Catholic media sources. However, the worst violators are those who seek to use the fresh, warm and engaging manner and message of Pope Francis to promote their own agendas which many times are diametrically opposed to his message and mission.

I think that the efforts of many of these opportunists are finally being exposed. Hopefully the tired old song of many in the media is being exposed for what it is. I particularly hope that catholic and other Christian sources in particular will stop playing the tune.

There is no doubt that Francis and Benedict have different manners, emphases and styles. From the very beginning, the twelve whom the Lord Jesus chose to carry forward in time His redemptive mission until His return, were also quite different.
What unified them then was the Lord Jesus - and the message which he delivered in his words, his way of life and His death and Resurrection. That is what unifies not only Benedict and Francis but the entire Catholic Church. And, it will not change. Instead, the ever fresh message changes times and entire Nations.

The song by Bob Dylan which became the title of the Rolling Stone piece was not the only song which the cover story brought to this aging boomer. I also remembered the song "Cover of the Rolling Stone". It was first recorded by Dr Hook and released in 1972. 

That song was an irreverent mockery of the prominence being placed by some of simply being on the  cover held in the mind of many back then. "Gonna see my picture on the cover, gonna buy five copies for my mother", Dr. Hook sang out in that sarcastic song.

Well, this issue of Rolling Stone is actually worth keeping, but only for the cover. The content of the story is trite, factually incorrect and reflects very superficial journalism indeed. I would be a lot less charitable than Fr. Lombardi. In fact, I could not print the words I would use.

To call the years of service of Pope Emeritus Benedict a "disastrous papacy" and refer to that brilliant theologian and humble, diminutive professorial Pope as a "a staunch traditionalist who looked like he should be wearing a striped shirt with knife-fingered gloves and menacing teenagers in their nightmares" was reprehensible!

Shame on you Mark Binelli, shame on you!

However, even given the rottenness of the content of the article, I maintain that it is absolutely WONDERFUL that Pope Francis is on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Just add it to the choice of Francis as the "Person of the Year" and the amazing way in which so many are enamored with the marvelous man who stands as the Francis of Assisi for this hour. It is a blessing.

Why, because people are beginning to listen to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as it is proclaimed in word and deed in the life of this joyful and refreshingly simple man of God. That message is the truly progressive message that they hunger for.

That message, the Christian message, is the only message which will truly liberate the men and women of this age as it has the men and women of every age - for two thousand years. And that is the goal of Pope Francis, to point people to Jesus Christ. Once that happens, he knows that the Lord does the rest.

And, all press is good press. Let me explain what I mean with a closing story.

When I was a young lawyer I started my first Law Firm. Many members of the Bar were angry. However, I received some helpful advice from an elderly, controversial lawyer in the City in which I lived. He had a thriving practice and was, at times, quite controversial. He was one of the few members of the Bar who encouraged me in a City which had too many lawyers competing for the same client base.

My law partner and I knew that our approach to law practice was unique, especially given the role that we hoped our faith would play in the way we served our clients and the causes we pursued. However, this older lawyer did not understand any of that. He just saw in me the eagerness and enthusiasm of his youth and it delighted him. He took me under his wing and tried to coach me on how to build a law practice and a client base.

One day, he was arguing so effectively for his client in a courtroom trial that he became quite animated and boisterous. The Judge turned angry and warned him from the bench that if he continued to pursue the line of questioning he was pursuing in a cross examination he would hold him in contempt of court. He did not heed the judicial direction.

I ended up visiting my mentor in jail the next morning.

The controversy caused quite a local stir and made headlines in the City paper. He was thrilled. As we talked, he smiled and told me not to worry about his well being. He said it had happened before and he would be just fine. Then, he decided to give me some advice on how to grow my nascent law practice. He said "Keith, in our line of business, there is no bad press. All Press is good Press."

In this new missionary age of the Catholic Church, I say the same. All Press is good press. For the times really are a changing. But not in the way Mark Binelli thinks.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More U.S.

'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis Watch

Image of Despite a shooting at a Minneapolis Black Lives Matter protest, the group plans to return to the precinct to continue their protests.


Protesters were standing outside the 4th Precinct in Minneapolis for Black Lives Matter in the case of 24-year-old Jamar Clark when gunshots rang out. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -Five protesters were shot outside the police station Tuesday afternoon as one ... continue reading

Planned Parenthood sues the State of Texas: Find out why NOW Watch

Image of The complainants maintain that planned intervention of the government is a violation of the federal statute and the 14th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.


Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit this week against the State of Texas for blocking its Medicaid funding. Planned Parenthood says that the decision was motivated by politics - and not because of health care concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ... continue reading

Terror threats spark shocking WORLD WIDE TRAVEL ALERTS Watch

Image of In either case, travelers can expect beefed-up security at airports in the coming weeks - and longer lines.


It is the start of the holiday season in the United States - and with the world still thoroughly rattled after the attacks in Paris this past November 13, travel alerts are in high effect. Even worse, those who decide to stay home through Thanksgiving and ... continue reading

Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, Catholics nurtured in the Anglican tradition, receives its First Bishop Watch

Image of Fr Randy Sly, a Catholic priest of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is equivalent to a diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition. The Ordinariate was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012.On November 24, 2015. Pope Francis announced the appointment of ... continue reading

EVIL AGAINST EVIL: Mafia boss says his group will protect New York City against Islamist State Watch

Image of Now pursuing a screenwriting career, Giovanni Gambino says that following the terror attacks in Paris on November 13, protection is more important than ever.


It is highly ironic, an example of the kettle calling the pot black as it were . Son of New York mob boss Giovanni Gambino is warning the Islamic State that if they decide to take New York City on, they will have the mafia to contend with.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Suicide bomber and K-9 units in New York subway station - but it's not what you think (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES) Watch

Image of NYC emergency responders held a 3-hour drill at the Bowery subway station in Manhattan days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.


Following the Paris terror attacks, New York City teamed up with the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday to stage a three-hour active-shooter and suicide bomber drill. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Only days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, emergency ... continue reading

Will national World War II shame over Japanese internment camps return with Muslim refugees? PHOTOS... Watch

Image of The internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II remains a very dark page in our national history.


Longtime mayor of Roanoke, Virginia, Mayor David Bowers has since apologized for his comments that compared Syrian refugee assistance and Japanese internment camps. While controversial, his comments have hit a raw, national nerve . and many people are wondering ... continue reading

What Time is it? The Feast of Christ the King and our Approach to Marking Time Watch

Image of Christ the King: This final Sunday of the church Year, the Feast of Christ the King, is the day when we are invited to commemorate His sovereignty over all men, women and children. Jesus Christ has come. Jesus Christ is coming. Jesus Christ will come again. Jesus Christ is Lord of All.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our choice to actually live the Christian liturgical year, in a compelling, evangelistic and inviting way, can become a profoundly important form of missionary activity in an age deluded by the barrenness of secularism. A robust, evangelically alive and ... continue reading

Remembering Gettysburg: America Needs to be Moral to be Free Watch

Image of The Lincoln memorial in Washington, DC

By Mat Staver & Keith Fournier

Our age has been seduced by a counterfeit notion of liberty as the right to do whatever we want, rather than the right to choose to do what is right. This is not what the founding fathers thought. The birth certificate of this nation was called a Declaration of ... continue reading

NEW TERROR THREAT: ISIS releases video saying they will destroy the White House - next Watch

Image of Using his index finger to point to the sky, referring to Allah, the man says,


With the attacks on Paris still foremost in international consciousness, the Islamic State has released a new, threatening video - saying that the United States is next. "We started with [Paris] and we shall finish with the false White House... We shall render ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Catherine of Alexandria: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, November ...
  • Advent Wreath Prayer HD
  • Prayer For Courage HD
  • 'Domestic terrorism': 5 People shot during Black Lives Matter protest ...
  • 5 unbelievable times children taught us to be better human beings
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, November 25, 2015
  • Couple heartbroken after doctor performs abortion without mother's ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Daniel 2:31-45
31 'You have had a vision, Your Majesty; this is what you saw: a statue, ... Read More

Psalm, Daniel 3:57, 58, 59, 60, 61
57 Bless the Lord, all the Lord's creation: praise and glorify him for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:5-11
5 When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 24th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew Dung Lac
November 24: Through the missionary efforts of various ... Read More