The pope, who assumed the papacy in March 2013, finished ahead of Edward Snowden, Edith Windsor, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Syrian President Bashar Assad for the award, the Associated Press reported.
Francis “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," Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor, told the AP.
Gibbs explained Time’s choice of Francis as the Person of the Year in an article for Time. She said Francis has shifted the way the public views the Catholic Church.
“And yet in less than a year, he has done something remarkable: he has not changed the words, but he’s changed the music,” she wrote.
Gibbs also said Time chose the pope because he’s willing to connect with the people to build a better view of the Catholic Church.
“The heart is a strong muscle; he’s proposing a rigorous exercise plan,” she wrote. “And in a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him. 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.”
And USA Today released eight facts about the pope to show readers why he might have been chosen for the award. Bustle, a news and entertainment website, released its 12 reasons why the pope deserved to be called Time's Person of the Year.
But not all response has been positive.
Writer John Cassidy of The New Yorker wrote that Snowden, who leaked about 200,000 National Security Agency documents to the press, deserved the award, mostly for "opening the eyes of people around the world." And Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress.org said Miley Cyrus, the famous and controversial pop star, should have earned the award.8 comments on this story
An article by the Huffington Post showed Twitter reactions highlighting negative reactions to Time's selection of Francis for the top honor. Phillymag.com also published a set of Twitter reactions, which were a mixed bag of responses.
But Perez Hilton, a pop culture blogger, published a response to the pope's selection as Person of the Year. Hilton said the pope was the best choice.
“While we think it would have been sort of amazeballs to see Miss Miley on the cover of Time, we agree with this selection,” Hilton wrote. “That dude has done a lot in 2013!”