Pope Francis has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
"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," Time said in its cover story.
"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."
Other contenders for the annual award were gay rights activist Edith Windsor, former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas.
Unlike other popes before him, Francis prefers to drive an economical car rather than the traditional Mercedes. He also traveled by bus and cooked his own meals when he was an archbishop.
But besides his frugality, Francis has been notable for his frank speeches on abortion, homosexuality and contraception. Then in late November, Francis released his Apostolic Exhortation, “the Joy of the Gospel.”
“Since I am called to put into practice what I ask of others, I too must think about a conversion of the papacy,” he wrote. “It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it and to the present needs of evangelization.”
Pope John Paull II was given the honor in 1994 and Pope John XXIII awarded in 1963.