According to the managing editor of Time magazine, Pope Francis was chosen to grace the cover of its 2013 Person of the Year issue because he “changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world’s largest institutions in an extraordinary way.”

But perhaps his most significant contribution this year has been his condemnation of greed and materialism. The pope has worked hard in his short time as head of the Catholic Church to refocus the institution’s attention on the plight of the poor and has proven himself to be a humble leader through various actions. Recently, Francis caused an outcry among conservatives the world over when he called attention to the fact that “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” in his first major publication as pontiff.

Truthdig Editor-in-Chief wrote about Pope Francis’ “excoriation of ‘the new idolatry of money’ ” and that “It is a message that applies to disrupted worldwide markets in which massive unemployment is now common, as well as to the underemployed and working poor who are the new ‘normal’ even in still wealthy America.”

Although the pontiff did beat out another public favorite for the title, whistle-blower and former Truthdigger of the Week Edward Snowden, the hypothetical crown is much deserved as this person is after all the “people’s pope.”

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

The Guardian:

The former Argentinian cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was selected in March as the first Latin pope. Since taking over at the Vatican, Francis has urged the Catholic church not to be obsessed with “small-minded rules” and to emphasise compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gay rights and contraception.

“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 honour wasn’t surprising given the resonance in the general public that Francis has had since his election, 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 honours,” said the Vatican spokesman, the reverend 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.”

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