VATICAN CITY — It’s not the first time a pope has been chosen by Time magazine as Person of the Year.
Time‘s title isn’t meant to honor someone as a do-gooder (obvious in the case of Adolf Hitler being named in 1938), but it is meant to highlight the person it sees as that year’s biggest news-maker or who “has done the most to influence events.”
“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 magazine
Given the enormous amount of attention Pope Francis has gotten since his March election, Father Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Time picking the pope wasn’t at all surprising. [It’s the third time Pope Francis has made the cover of Time just this year.]
But the spokesman said it is a good sign that such recognition is going to someone who “proclaims to the world spiritual, religious and moral values and speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice.”
A Jewish group and Argentina’s government have also reportedly nominated Pope Francis for the Nobel Peace Prize. Submissions for this year’s prize were due in February, so it’s doubtful the pope will even make the list.*
*CORRECTION: The 2013 peace prize was already awarded this year (as an attentive reader pointed out) to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”
Let’s see what next year may bring!