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Starting with tomorrow's Newsflash, you can look forward to two profiles each day this week from our 2006 "Top Ten People" list.
The Top Ten People of 2006
BY DR. ROBERT MOYNIHAN
Each year for the past six years we have asked our staff to nominate the "Top Ten" people of the year. We recognize that it is an impossible endeavor, and one fraught with serious problems. How can any list of ten names be considered even remotely complete, when hundred and thousands and millions of people are living their faith and bearing witness to their convictions in marvelous ways throughout the world? And who are we to make the choice, anyway?
And yet, we made our choice, and we present the people to you here: our "Top Ten People of 2006."
Do we think these names are the only names we could have chosen? Of course not.
Do we think other names might have been chosen by other people? Certainly.
So what benefit does such a list provide?
Well, even given all the problems, the list does provide a "snapshot," from the perspective of writers who live and work in Rome, of important people and issues. Not the only important people and issues, but nevertheless some important people and issues.
And so we defend our decision to propose these names to you once again at the beginning of a new year, not expecting that you will agree with our choices, and not asking you to do so. All we hope to accomplish by presenting you with this list is to prompt your own reflection. Whom do you know who is acting in a courageous, charitable way? Whom do you know who is fighting for justice, or attempting to construct a just peace where there are profound tensions? Whom do you know who is straining to follow the will of God to the best of his or her ability?
We do not claim that all of these people are saints. We do claim that each of these people is a witness to something of deep and mysterious importance: the desire of men and women to follow the right path, to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.
Our list contains only two women, but eight men. This is an injustice. But we did not consider gender at all in our selection, and next year we may choose eight women and two men.
Our list includes a Turk, two Italians, a Hungarian, an Englishwoman, an American, an Austrian, a Spaniard and a Colombian. No Africans, no Asians -- except there are many of them, in Nigeria and Pakistan and China and elsewhere, under the veil of anonymity, and so included under our choice for the Number 1 person of the year.
We have on this list several non-Catholics. We have a Greek Orthodox Patriarch, a British Episcopalian, and a Jewish rabbi whose work on behalf of life issues has made him one of the greatest Jewish friends of the Catholic Church in the world.
We have only two Catholic priests on the list, one a monsignor who works in the Vatican, the other a Hungarian who has become one of the youngest cardinals in the Catholic Church and the president of the Catholic bishops of Europe.
We have no cloistered or uncloistered nuns, no monks, no deacons, no seminarians, no parish priests -- and there are thousands of cloistered and uncloistered nuns, and monks, and deacons and seminarians, and parish priests, who deserve the type of recognition we try to give by including them in this list. And so we apologize, in a sense, for our choices, profoundly aware that they are inadequate.
And yet, we are also proud of our choices. Very proud. Because these men and women are a company of heroes. They are people who have taken up the challenges of life and faith and done much to bear witness in this world to that truth, that goodness and that beauty which is love of God and love of neighbor.
And so we are proud to present to you the anonymous fighter for religious freedom around the world, and the good Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox, and the peace-making Vatican monsignor, and the wise Hungarian cardinal, and the bold Italian film director, and the intrepid English defender of human rights, and the courageous Jewish rabbi, and the noble Austrian statesman, and the energetic Spanish journalist, and the righteous artist from Colombia. Our "Top Ten People for 2006."
Top Ten People: #1 & #2
Inside The Vatican (ISSN 1068-8579) is a Catholic news magazine, published monthly except July
and September, with occasional special supplements.