NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Monsignor Hilary Franco works at the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. And between catching up on the U.N.'s 123 delegations and the 17 wars raging across the globe Tuesday, the Monsignor chanced upon a list on GQ.com titled "21 Books You Don't Have to Read."
"I don't know why I would not read the book that tells me about love," Monsignor Franco said. "The Bible has been a bestseller."
The Bible is the greatest bestseller in the history of the printed word. But GQ added it to its "skip list" at No. 12, calling it "repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish and even at times ill-intentioned."
This led "The Bible" to trend on social media. The Monsignor agreed to speak with us before giving the keynote address at an event and most reacting publicly to the list to question how anyone could replace this book, perhaps unparalleled in its influence, with Agota Kristof's "The Notebook" as GQ suggested we ought to consider.
"The psalms are so poetic," Monsignor Franco said. "But not only that, it seems like they are written yesterday."
Those who teach and read and regard the Bible as both a work of history and the word of God understandably disagree with GQ, but there also exist plenty of secular reasons to read the Bible and why it remains difficult to ignore or replace.
Hunter College English professor Rebecca Connor teaches 18th-century literature, identifies as agnostic, and agreed with GQ's suggestion to remove "Catcher in the Rye," "The Old Man and the Sea," "The Alchemist," and others from the must-read canon.
But the Connor reached the 12th book on GQ's list.
"It almost certainly is the most influential text written in the English language," she said.
Fox 5 contacted GQ but did not receive a response before air time.