Hailing him as “The People’s Pope”, Time magazine has named Pope Francis, Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church, as its “Person of the Year”.

Time Magazine's Cover
Time Magazine’s Cover

“For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time’s 2013 Person of the Year,” Time said in its announcement. The magazine has been giving out the distinction since 1927.

It was the third time a Catholic pope had been Time’s selection. Bl. Pope John Paul II was selected in 1994 and Bl. Pope John XXIII was chosen in 1962.

It their cover story, the magazine wrote: “At a time when the limits of leadership are being tested in so many places, along comes a man with no army or weapons, no kingdom beyond a tight fist of land in the middle of Rome but with the immense wealth and weight of history behind him, to throw down a challenge. The world is getting smaller; individual voices are getting louder; technology is turning virtue viral, so his pulpit is visible to the ends of the earth. When he kisses the face of a disfigured man or washes the feet of a Muslim woman, the image resonates far beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church.”

In response to the announcement, Official Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said  “The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors, but if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel — a message of God’s love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that.”

Time’s other 10 finalists were: President Obama, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Syria President Bashar Assad, Iran President Hassan Rouhani, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Edith Windsor, and singer Miley Cyrus.

Here is Time’s video explaining why they chose the Holy Father as their “Person of the Year” 

[Editor’s note: beware subjective and questionable analysis of Pope Francis’ actions in this video]

The full cover story can read on Time’s website here

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