Pope Francis has been reportedly named The Person of the Year by Time magazine, while NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been chosen as the runner-up.
The Pope, 76, rose from modest beginnings and has been praised for his down-to-earth approach, and is the first non-European pope in nearly 1,300 years.
AdvertisementAccording to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Pope has taken on leadership of a 1.2-billion-strong Church beset by scandal and signs of deep internal dysfunction, but there are signs his popularity is revitalising it.
Time's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs said that 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, the Pope was awarded the prestigious title.
Gibbs further said that it was rare for a new figure on the world stage to capture so much attention so quickly, from the 'young and old, faithful and cynical'.
Meanwhile, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi welcomed the accolade, and said that if this draws women and men and gives them hope, the Pope is happy.
Runner-up Snowden, has been currently under temporary asylum in Russia for having leaked data about the alleged US mass surveillance programmes, not only upsetting the US' ties with its allies, but also putting forth the subject of global debate on privacy and security.
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