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Rolling Stone, the US-based rock music magazine, has chosen to feature Pope Francis on the cover of its latest issue.
The strapline under the smiling portrait reads: “The times, they are a-changing”, quoting the landmark Bob Dylan album.
In a lengthy survey of Francis’ 10-month-old papacy, contributing editor Mark Binelli argues that Bergoglio has brought about a “gentle revolution”.
He contrasts the positive emphases of Francis’ teaching and his ease with crowds in St Peter’s Square with those of his predecessor, the “dour academic” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The Holy See spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said in a statement that the article showed the attention that the "newness" of Pope Francis was eliciting from "the most diverse milieus".
But he added: “Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a 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, and does so with a surprising crudeness.”
In December Time Magazine put Pope Francis on the cover of one their issues when it named him their 2013 Person of the Year.