Pope Francis Gets His Own Weekly Magazine, Complete with Centerfold

POPE-master495Since his election to the highest post in Catholicism about a year ago, Pope Francis has captured both the hearts of his followers and plenty of worldwide attention for his progressive ways and social savvy. So, like those of any self-respecting international celebrity, his fans hunger for regular inspiration and inside access to the life of their favorite star.

Now, here to satiate that need is Mio Papa (My Pope), the pope’s very own magazine, which hit Italian newsstands on Ash Wednesday.

The magazine’s editor, Aldo Vitali, told The New York Times, “It’s a sort of fanzine, but of course it can’t be like something you’d do for One Direction…We aim to be more respectful, more noble.”

But with 68 glossy pages boasting photos, papal pronouncements, sneak peeks into his holiness’ personal life, and a pullout centerfold, it’s pretty much exactly like what you’d do for One Direction.

Up until now, only the Vatican’s daily newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, covered the pope and his speeches with regularity. The paper’s editor in chief, Giovanni Maria Vian, noted that Mio Papa is “an interesting phenomenon because it doesn’t come from the Catholic world.” But given that his holiness appeals to many people outside of the Roman Catholic faith in an unprecedented manner, this makes sense.

Mr. Vitali told the NYT that while Francis’ popularity has transcended the bounds of Catholicism, the magazine’s intention is not to “speculate on the popularity of the pope,” just to send his good word out into the world. Though, given that Vitali is also the editor of Italy’s number one weekly magazine, TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, which the NYT describes as “a cross between TV Guide and People,” we imagine his holiness’s popularity had at least something to do with it.