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Pope Francis has been named Time magazine’s Person Of The Year.
The title is awarded by the news magazine to a person who has done the most to influence events of the year.
Also on the shortlist for 2013 was the pop singer Miley Cyrus; the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad; and Edward Snowden, the American former Central Intelligence Agency employee who disclosed up to 200,000 classified documents to the press.
The magazine praised the Pope for capturing “the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the Church”.
Calling him “the people’s Pope”, the magazine’s cover story said: “He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The septuagenarian superstar is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century.”
They also praised recent remarks Pope Francis had made indicating a greater acceptance of gay people in the Church.
Two other Popes, John XXIII (in 1962) and John Paul II (in 1994) have been named Person Of The Year in the tradition’s almost century-old history, along with every serving US president. Other recipients have included the Iranian leader the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979; and groups such as “The American Soldier”, “You” and “Middle Americans”.