Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013, the magazine revealed Wednesday on TODAY.
The iconic title goes every year to the individual chosen by Time editors as someone who has had the most impact on the world and the news — for better or worse — over the past year.
Pope Francis stood out "as someone who has changed the tone and perception and focus of one of the world largest institutions in an extraordinary way," Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said Wednesday.
"So much of what he has done in his brief nine months in office has really changed the tone that is coming out of the Vatican. He is saying, 'We are about the healing mission of the church, and not about the theological police work that had maybe been preoccupying us.'"
The magazine staff makes the ultimate decision, Gibbs said, but they poll readers and take public opinion into account. This was the third time Time named a pope as its Person of the Year.