Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’


Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

The face of the Catholic Church is the face of Time’s 2013 Person of the Year

He didn’t leak classified NSA documents, purchase the Washington Post or draw attention for twerking, but Pope Francis’ whirlwind nine-month papacy, which made “masterly use of 21st century tools to perform his 1st century office,” was enough to elevate him above others on the year’s shortlist..

Pope Francis was named the 266th pontiff on March 13 — the first non-European in more than 1,200 years and the most talked about subject on Facebook for 2013 — has quickly become known as the “people’s Pope.”

Time describes him as a man “poised to transform a place that measures change by the century.”

But 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. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” 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. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.