News / Europe

Pope Francis Named Time's Person of the Year

Pope Francis, Time magazine's 2013 Person of the Year, is seen an undated photo of the magazine cover provided by Time, Dec. 11, 2013.
Pope Francis, Time magazine's 2013 Person of the Year, is seen an undated photo of the magazine cover provided by Time, Dec. 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
 Time magazine named Pope Francis its Person of the Year on Wednesday, crediting him with shifting the message of the Catholic Church while capturing the imagination of millions of people who had become disillusioned with the Vatican.
 
This is the third time the magazine has chosen a pope as its Person of the Year. Time gave that honor to Pope John Paul II in 1994 and to Pope John XXIII in 1963.
 
The Argentine pontiff - who, as archbishop of Buenos Aires was known as the slum cardinal for his visits to the poor and penchant for subway travel - beat 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 in its cover story.
 
“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.”
 
Time said the final selection was made by its editors, who had considered suggestions from the magazine's more than 2 million Twitter followers.
 
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said Pope Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, the first from Latin America and the first Jesuit, was not seeking fame.
 
“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,” Lombardi said in a statement.
 
“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.”
 
In September, Francis gave a groundbreaking and frank interview, in which he said the Vatican must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality, and become more merciful.
 
And in July, Francis told reporters he was not in a position to judge homosexuals who are of good will and in search of God, marking a break from his predecessor, Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder.
 
Francis replaced Benedict XVI in March after he abdicated.
 
The new pope's style is characterized by frugality. He shunned the spacious papal apartment in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace to live in a small suite in a Vatican guest house, and he prefers a Ford Focus to the traditional pope's Mercedes.
 
A champion of the downtrodden, he visited the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy in July to pay tribute to hundreds of migrants who had died crossing the sea from North Africa.
 
With the Catholic Church marred in recent years by sex abuse scandals, Francis formed a team of experts Thursday to consider ways to improve the screening of priests, to protect minors to help victims.
 
Still, Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a victim advocacy group, said in a statement Wednesday that more action was needed.
 
“After nine months of essentially ignoring the church's most severe crisis, [Pope Francis] hastily announced last week that he'll appoint an abuse study panel,” Blaine said. “He has not, however, made a single child safer.”   


  • Pope Francis arrives at the St. Francis Basilica to lead a mass as part of his pastoral visit in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 4, 2013.
  • Pope Francis greets faithful upon arrival for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sept. 18, 2013.
  • Then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio leads a mass during the annual gathering and pilgrimage to the church dedicated to Saint Cajetan, the patron saint of labor and bread, in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2009.
  • Then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio greets people during the annual gathering and pilgrimage to the church dedicated to Saint Cajetan in Buenos Aires, August 7, 2009.
  • Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner greets then Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio at the Basilica of Lujan, Dec. 22, 2008.
  • Then Pope Benedict greets then Archbishop of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio at the Vatican, Jan. 13, 2007.
  • Then Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio washes the feet of two newly born children on Holy Thursday at the Buenos Aires' Sarda maternity hospital, March 24, 2005.
  • Jorge Bergoglio is pictured in this undated handout photo courtesy of Clarin.
  • Jorge Bergoglio poses in this undated handout photo courtesy of Clarin.
  • Jorge Bergoglio and his family are seen in this undated handout photo provided by Clarin.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 11, 2013 9:36 AM
Well, good to praise a man who has brought a lot of positive publicity and confidence back to the Church. Like the Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, if this praise is well intended, recaptures hope of those whose faith is drooping, and rekindles greater faith and love in the Gospel and in the Church, it's a good omen. However, the pope should be wary of these praises, for they could also be booby traps.

First the press now praising him did not sound so optimistic at his election (conclave) preferring someone else - maybe one from USA. Later they have praised him for his comments on controversial issues like gays, women priesthood and same-sex marriage. The pope's inquiry into laity opinion on these issues are still pending. Here is hoping that the man up there should not be swayed by praises and encomiums to forget the primary duty and calling to both preserve the tradition of the Church and lead the way; to be the salt of the earth and light of the world; to shine as light in a world that is wrapped in darkness.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid