Pope Francis is ‘Time’ magazine’s Person of the Year

Pope Francis is ‘Time’ magazine’s Person of the Year

PERSON OF THE YEAR: Pope Francis listens to a speaker delivering his message translated in different languages during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 11. Photo: Associated Press/Alessandra Tarantino

By Elizabeth Dilts

(Reuters) – Time magazine named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, crediting him with shifting the message of the Catholic Church while capturing the “imaginations of millions” who had become disillusioned with the Vatican.

“So much of what he has done in his brief nine months in office has really changed the tone of what is coming out of the Vatican,” Time Editor Nancy Gibbs said in announcing the choice on NBC television’s “Today” program. “He is saying, ‘We are about the healing mission of the church, and not about the theological police work’.”

The Pope beat out former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and gay rights activist Edith Windsor for the award. Other finalists included Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.

“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 on its website.

In a statement read on “Today,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, “The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of the Year helps spread the message of the gospel – a message of God’s love for everyone – he will certainly be happy about that.”

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

WATCH: Soldier breaks rank to hug daughter at homecoming


Top brass at a Colorado Army post are all smiles after a 2-year-old girl interrupted a general's speech to dash across the room and hug her dad, who had just come home from a nine-month deployment.

in Weird

On zomBee watch


While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don't know the scope of the problem.

in Music

The Eagles of Death Metal make their triumphant return


Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme have released their first album in seven years, and talk about the importance of their long-lasting friendship.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘A Reasonable Speed’ with Keanu Reeves


This could give the "Fast & Furious" a run for its money.

in Music

Janet Jackson, Chicago, Steve Miller, and NIN among Rock Hall nominees


Cheap Trick, The Smiths, and Chaka Khan are also among those nominated.