Rolling Stone Magazine has never had a problem identifying the hottest "pop" culture properties bouncing around the mediasphere. For the first time, however, editors have bent a bit backward (from left to right) in promoting Catholicism's latest pontiff. Why? He looks great in white? He's got a great smile?
According to Rolling Stone's Mark Binelli the magazine's cover story was selected because "Pope Francis is making a noticeable break from Vatican tradition, facing political issues head on and presenting a more all-inclusive attitude toward human rights – and that Catholics are appreciative."
At first glance, the choice of featuring Pope Francis on the cover may seem a bit odd given the magazine's primary interest in the entertainment industry.
The current cover, however, suggests there is more to life than obsessing over bling, glitz, and the latest hotties in the world.
The "Stone" brings the new Pope into what appears to be it's sidebar approach to pop-culture branding. In a way Rolling Stone is validating the pope's popularity outside of Catholicism. At the same time, Pope Francis has unwittingly joined a rather dubious cast of characters on the "Stone" face including such notables as convicted serial killer Charles Manson, Islamic militant and 9/11 muscle Khalid Skaikh Mohammed, and Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Given such auspicious company, the appearance of Pope Francis' warm and slightly bemused smile seems welcomed, inviting and certainly timely.