Time’s ‘Person Of The Year’ Reinforces Sea Change In Papacy And Catholic Church

Dec 13, 2013


In only his first year, Pope Francis was selected by Time magazine's editors as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, for good or bad, during 2013.

Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs said Pope Francis had changed the tone, the perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way.

Rebecca Cruise, the Assistant Dean of the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, tells KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot the enthusiasm created by Pope Francis is palpable.

“Just looking at social media, which did play a role in the selection of the pope as Person of the Year, many people are reposting the cover,” Cruise says. “It's really interesting to hear young Catholics [say they’re] proud of being Catholic – in this country and elsewhere.”

Leaker Edward Snowden finished second as Time announced its choice on Wednesday. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was also named as a finalist.

“Obviously he would be put on the list for being a killer and for having caused his country to go down such a bloody path,” says Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of the blog Syria Comment. “But it is a long time since there's been a liberal pope, and obviously some of the enthusiasm…must be because of this real sea change in the papacy and in the Catholic Church.”


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