Time’s “Person of the Year.”
“For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest church to confronting its deepest needs, and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is Time’s 2013 Person of the Year,’” wrote Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs on Francis’s selection.
Pope Francis assumed the papacy in March after his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, resigned. In the months since becoming the Roman Catholic Church’s top leader, Francis has been widely credited with reshaping public perception of the Church after years of scandal, building a reputation as a humble reformer.
“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 … he will certainly be happy about that,” said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the pope’s press office, in a written statement.
The other finalists were President Barack Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Ted Cruz, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, gay rights activist Edith Windsor and Miley Cyrus.
Pope Francis, recently responded to conservative criticisms that his economic and social ideas smack of communism, said in an Italian newspaper interview on Sunday that he is not a Marxist but that even Marxists can be good people.
Francis also denied reports that he would name a woman cardinal, said there was good progress in cleaning up Vatican finances and confirmed that he would visit Israel and the Palestinian territories next year, La Stampa said.
Last month, American radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who has a huge following in the United States, railed against the pope for written comments made on the world economy.
Limbaugh, who is not Catholic, said that parts of the document were "pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the pope" and suggested that someone else had written the papal document for him. He also accused the pope of going "beyond Catholicism" and being "purely political".
Americans, for some reason, love to find fault with everything but ourselves...