Lifestyle & Belief

What's in a selfie?


Jorge Mario Bergoglio attends his first private Mass as Pope Francis in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore on March 14, 2013 in Rome, Italy.


L'Osservatore Romano

What's a world leader gotta do these days to prove he or she is with it?

That's easy, grab the nearest teenager and snap a selfie!

As if yesterday's news that "selfie" is now an official word wasn't legitimizing enough of the self-aggrandizing act, today word on the street is that the pope has given the selfie some major cred.

On Wednesday, Pope Francis posed with a gaggle of Italian teens from the Italian Diocese of Piacenza and Bobbio.

The Atlantic is calling him the "Hipster Pope":

But it's more than that, isn't it? A pope that can take a selfie can cut loose a little, and that's the kind of thing that has a ripple effect. 

Since becoming pope in March, Pope Francis has done a lot to change the reputation of the church, and it shows in big and little ways.

He came out in favor of gay rights in July, when he said publicly he wouldn't judge gay priests. And he said he wants women to have a larger role in the church. 

And while his Twitter feed isn't exactly hilarious, it's still a Twitter feed and he appears to understand its potential impact. He offered indulgences — basically a pardon for the guilt of a sin — for those who followed his feed closely during the World Youth Day in Rio this summer.

Of course, selfies aren't a secret, and the pope isn't alone in harnessing their power. 

Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, has made a name for himself in the leadup to September's polls as the candidate who can really get down:


And as if we needed further proof after she embraced the Texts from Hillary tumblr that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had her finger on the pulse, here she is taking a selfie with Meryl Streep before the pope was even the pope. And another with her daughter back in June: