Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs explained why the magazine chose Pope Francis as its most influential person of the year. "Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly--young and old, faithful and cynical--as has Pope Francis. In his nine months in office, he has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power."
Gibbs described the way that the pope has brought the Catholic Church's ideals and values to the people in a way that is understandable and practical. "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."
The Vatican responded to the announcement with the following statement released by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Head of the Holy See’s Press Office:
“The decision didn’t come as a surprise given the great resonance and attention surrounding the election of Pope Francis right from the start of the new pontificate. The fact that one of the most prestigious awards to be attributed by the international press should go to someone who promotes spiritual, religious and moral values as well as call for peace and greater justice in an incisive manner is a positive sign. As for the Pope himself, he’s not someone who seeks fame and success, because he has put his life at the service of announcing the Gospel of the love of God for mankind. It is pleasing to the Pope that this service should appeal and give hope to women and men. And if this choice of ‘Person of the Year’ should mean that many people have understood this message – at least implicitly- the Pope is really happy about this."