Pope Francis is third pope to win Time’s Person of the Year honor

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Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Dec. 11. Pope Francis was named as Time magazine's "Person of the Year." (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Dec. 11. Pope Francis was named as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis is not seeking fame or accolades, but being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year will make him happy if it helps attract people to the hope of the Gospel, said the Vatican spokesman.

“It’s a positive sign that one of the most prestigious recognitions in the international press” goes to a person who “proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice,” said the spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.

The choice of Pope Francis “is not surprising, given the wide appeal and huge attention” to his pontificate so far, Father Lombardi said in a written statement Dec. 11, shortly after Time announced it had named the pope for the annual feature.

“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,” Time said on its website. “With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience.”

Blessed John Paul II was named Person of the Year in 1994 and Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

Other past honorees include several U.S. Presidents, Mahatma Gandhi, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. The magazine says the title goes to the person or idea that “for better or worse … has done the most to influence events of the year.”

The pope “does not seek fame and success, because he serves to proclaim the Gospel and God’s love for everyone,” Father Lombardi said. But if the recognition “attracts women and men and gives them hope, the pope is happy.”

The spokesman added that Pope Francis would also be pleased if the magazine’s decision “means that many have understood, at least implicitly, this message” of hope.

— By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service.

Catholic News Service, serving since 1920 as a news agency specializing in reporting religion, is the primary source of national and world news that appears in the U.S. Catholic press. It is also a leading source of news for Catholic print and broadcast media throughout the world.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The article is correct, “The pope “does not seek fame and success, because he serves to proclaim the Gospel and God’s love for everyone.” The award means absolutely nothing! Catholics are not going to flock in droves to the Sacraments because the Holy Father got ‘TIME’ “Person of the Year”, the same mag that gave it to Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and 1942, Nikita Khrushchev in 1957, Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, Vladimir Putin in 2007, and pro-abortion Barack Obama in 2012. In Luke 6:26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” I see a lot of back slapping and congratulations in the Catholic media culture today. I’m very worried.

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