TIME Person of the Year 2013: Pope Francis Beats Out Miley Cyrus, Edward Snowden
On Wednesday, TIME magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year because of his desire to change the face of the Catholic Church.
"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing," TIME said in the article. "The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century."
The decision to honor Pope Francis was made by its editors who said they considered suggestions from more than 2 million TIME Twitter followers.
"What makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all," TIME said. "In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church - the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world - above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors."
Pope Francis is the third pope to be named Person of the Year since the tradition started in 1927. Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II earned the same title in 1994 and 1963, respectively.
The 2013 Person of the Year was formerly known as Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. He is the first ever Latino pope and the first Jesuit. Since his leadership began, he has focused on getting the Catholic people to end an obsession with "small-minded rules." He encourages his people to highlight sympathy and love when dealing with issues likes contraception, abortion and homosexuals, instead of judgment.
"He really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," Nancy Gibbs, TIME managing editor, said.
The church is not surprised by the honor but says that the Pope is not looking for fame or prizes. Instead, the church is excited for the affects the article will have on the church's followers.
"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions by the international media has been given to a person who proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks out forcefully in favor of peace and greater justice," Rev. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said. "If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is happy. If this choice of 'Person of the Year' means that many have understood this message, even implicitly, he is certainly glad."
Meanwhile, Padre Toto, one of Pope Francis' comrades is excited about the news.
"Pope Francis embodies one of the values of a church that's more missionary, closer to the people, more austere, more in keeping with the gospel," Toto said. "He had the genius of knowing how to express this sense of the church and hopefully his way of being will catch on with other political leaders, business executives, sports figures. His leadership is inspiring."
According to Associated Press, a reader poll chose Egyptian General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as Person of the Year, but he did not make the top 10. NSA leaker Edward Snowden, gay rights activist Edith Windsor, Syrian President Bashar Assad and United States Senator Ted Cruz of Texas were runner-ups.
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