Pope Francis is TIME’s Man Of The Year

Pope francisInfluential international magazine, Time has selected Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis as its Person of the Year 2013. The award which was announced on Wednesday December 11 saw the pope edge out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction.

The former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected in March as the first pope from Latin America and the first Jesuit. Since taking over at the Vatican, he has urged the Catholic Church not to be obsessed with “small-minded rules” and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception.

His popularity has soared, helped in no small measure by his simple style and wry sense of humor evidence been his twitter account, @Pontifex Twitter account recently exceeding the 10 million follower mark. It was the third time a Catholic pope had been Time’s selection. John Paul II was selected in 1994 and John XXIII was chosen in 1962.

The Time Magazine Person of The Year Award which the news magazine has been giving each year since 1927 has been handed to such notable individuals like Mikhail Gorbachev, Yitzhak Rabin, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in previous years who have been most influential over the course of the 12 months under consideration.