Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year - WFLA News Channel 8

Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year

Posted: Updated:
© Associated Press © Associated Press
NEW YORK -

Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Catholic Church's new leader has changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time. 

The pope beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been giving each year since 1927.

The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected in March as the first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit. Since taking over at the Vatican, he has urged the Catholic Church not to be obsessed with "small-minded rules" and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception. 

He has denounced the world's "idolatry of money" and the "global scandal" that nearly 1 billion people today go hungry, and has charmed the masses with his simple style and wry sense of humor. His appearances draw tens of thousands of people at a clip and his Pontifex Twitter account recently topped 10 million followers. 

"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," said Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor.

The Vatican said the honor wasn't surprising given the resonance in the general public that Francis has had, but it nevertheless said the choice was a "positive" recognition of spiritual values in the international media. 

"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "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." 

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

Besides Snowden, Time had narrowed its finalists down to gay rights activist Edith Windsor, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

Time editors made the selection. The magazine polled readers for their choice, and the winner was Egyptian General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who didn't even make the top 10 of Time's final list.

  • U.S.More>>

  • Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Aid group: US doctor who had Ebola has recovered

    Thursday, August 21 2014 8:04 AM EDT2014-08-21 12:04:28 GMT
    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
    At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
  • Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Holder says he understands mistrust of police

    Thursday, August 21 2014 1:23 AM EDT2014-08-21 05:23:27 GMT
    Police and protesters in Ferguson were finally able to share the streets again at night, putting aside for at least a few hours some of the hostility that had filled those hours with tear gas and smoke.
    Attorney General Eric Holder sought Wednesday to reassure the people of Ferguson about the investigation into Michael Brown's death and said he understands why many black Americans do not trust police, recalling how he...
  • Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

    Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:34 PM EDT2014-08-20 23:34:42 GMT
    Militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley and are threatening to kill another hostage in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq.
    The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes Wednesday against the Islamic State extremist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley and that has seized a swath of territory across Iraq and Syria....
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.