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Time Magazine Names Pope Francis Person of the Year

U.S. news magazine Time has named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year.

Time said Wednesday the new pontiff, one-time Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has reshaped the image of the Roman Catholic Church in the nine months since being elected as the 266th pope.

The magazine said he took the name of Francis, the humble saint of Assisi, and then called for a church of healing for the masses who face disease, poverty and personal turmoil in their lives. Time said the pope is "poised to transform" the Vatican, which it described as "a place that measures change by the century."

The magazine said the pope, who turns 77 next week, has presented a more accommodating face for the church. It noted that Pope Francis has said "it is not necessary to talk" constantly about divisive social issues that often have dominated the public pronouncements of his predecessors, even as he says the church will not ordain women as priests, or sanction abortions and gay marriage.

In picking its Person of the Year, Time has sought for 86 years to name the year's most influential newsmakers, or sometimes a movement that has dominated the year's events.

After the pope, the magazine also listed its second through fifth choices for 2013 in this order: former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked a vast cache of documents about American spy programs before fleeing to asylum in Russia; Edith Windsor, the matriarch of the gay rights movement; embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand who forced a partial U.S. government shutdown in a futile effort to undermine national health care reforms.

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