GQ, the world’s leading magazine for men’s fashion, has selected as its Holy Man of the Year a bachelor from Argentina, now living just outside Rome, who is rarely seen wearing anything except white, gold, or perhaps ivory, usually accessorized with a simple cap.
GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson confesses in his magazine’s December issue that he invited Pope Francis I to GQ’s annual Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, with a small white lie: “I tried to make it sound like a Holy Day of Obligation that only people in California observe.”
Nelson happens to be gay; he was ranked number 20 in The Advocate’s 50 Most Influential LGBT People in the Media. But his sexual orientation isn’t the reason he got the brush-off from the pontiff’s people. “I'm told by the Vatican that the Pope ‘doesn’t do fashion,’ but I say He does every time He sashays down the aisle,” Nelson writes. “And I sure hope His Holiness decides to come to L.A. to hang out with Steve Carell and Chris Pratt and the rest of us Homines because, in all honesty, I like this pope a lot.”
Nelson gushes, “He’s kind, humane, engaged, not like that last grump who walked off the job. Unlike Pope Geezer III, Francis is someone you can relate to. You look at him and you think: That guy just might have a secular agenda.”
This honor for Pope Francis I, formerly known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, comes one year after he was named The Advocate’s Person of the Year and GQ’s Cold Caller of the Year. In the latter feature, GQ touted his unusual and charming habit of calling members of the flock himself, without introductions or handlers. GQ’s Jen Ortiz contributed the story of Michele Ferri of Italy, who wrote to the pope about the death of her brother. Admitting she had hoped at most to get a letter with his signature, Ferri says she didn’t realize she had missed a call from the pope until he tried calling her again the next day.
“I picked up, and a voice said: ‘Hi, Michele, I am Pope Francis.’ I was speechless,” Ferri told GQ. “I didn’t realize, immediately, what was going on. He told me he cried when he read my letter and said he would pray for me, for my brother and my family.” And then he asked her for her mom’s number so he could call her too.
“Old skool“ skills aren’t the pope’s only strength, of course. Although Nelson does not have a personal Twitter account, he is very frankly fond of Francis’s contributions to the Twitterverse: “If you need a break from all the snark in the world, follow his feed. It's the gentlest Twitter feed ever invented. One of my favorites: ‘Dear young people, do not be mediocre.’ (Good advice! And think about it: He’s practically imploring you to subscribe to GQ.) Sometimes he’ll just tweet to spirits, like this one: ‘Come, Holy Spirit.’ How cool is that? Like, he just wants to hang out. If I were the Holy Spirit, I’d retweet that shit a thousand times.”
And perhaps it’s a miracle, but the column by GQ’s editor in chief was tweeted out by another Vatican account with the handle “His Holiness.”
Nelson concludes his piece on Pope Francis by explaining what he called “the real reason I'm declaring Him our Holy Man of the Year.” Nelson writes, “Francis doesn't think divorced people, or couples shacking up together, or gays and lesbians are evil. He believes they should be welcomed, not shunned. In the Catholic Church, this makes him close to a heretic. In October, he even had a committee declare that there are ‘positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation,’ that gay Catholics have certain ‘gifts and qualities,’ and that everyone should ‘experiment with three-ways.’
“Okay, I made up that last part about threesomes,” Nelson adds. “But still! ... This pope is too cool, too charismatic, and too righteous. And Jesus, who welcomed all, rolled with prostitutes, and got pissed at people with ‘stubborn hearts,’ is on His side.
“So am I.”