(Article changed on December 17, 2013 at 16:53)
Rush Limbaugh, who is not a Catholic, got in the spirit of publicizing Pope Francis by charging that he is advocating "pure Marxism" in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) -- in which he criticizes unfettered capitalism. Evidently, Limbaugh is not aware that a number of popes have criticized unfettered capitalism.
Then the editors of Time Magazine got in the spirit of the season by naming Pope Francis to be their Person of the Year. Yes, they judged that he had had a bigger impact, for better or worse, on our awareness than Edward Snowden had had by blowing the whistle about the NSA.
Not to be outdone by Time, the editors of the New Yorker have now gotten into the spirit of the season by publishing a lengthy and wide-ranging profile titled "Who Am I to Judge: A radical pope's first year" by James Carroll (born 1943). Carroll is a former Catholic priest, novelist, and author of numerous non-fiction books, including Practicing Catholic (2009) and Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History (2001). Carroll interviewed a number of key people in different countries for this profile.
CARROLL'S DECONSTRUCTION OF POPE FRANCIS
Carroll is an interpreter with an agenda. In the intramural politics of the Roman Catholic Church, he is a liberal Catholic. So he is not fond of the kinds of positions favored by conservative Catholics. From his standpoint, it is important to figure out if the new pope is a liberal Catholic, or not. As we will see, he concludes that the new pope is not a liberal. However, according to Carroll, the new pope may be a radical, as the subtitle of his profile indicates.
Carroll likens Pope Francis (born 1936) to Pope John XXIII (born 1881; reigned 1958-1963), the pope who called the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Both of these popes manifest a spirit of openness that Carroll admires. Carroll idolizes Pope John XXIII.