December 11th, 2013
08:15 AM ET

Pope Francis' greatest hits of 2013

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
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(CNN) - First he won the Internet. Then he won Facebook. Now, Pope Francis has won Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.

"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing," Time said in announcing the award on Wednesday. "The septuagenarian superstar is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century."

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said Time's announcement came as no surprise.

"It is a positive sign that one of the most prestigious acknowledgements in the field of the international press has been attributed to one who proclaims spiritual, religious and moral values in the world, and who speaks effectively in favor of peace and greater justice," Lombardi said.

"With regard to the Pope, for his part, he does not seek fame and success, since he carries out his service for the proclamation of the Gospel and the love of God for all. If this attracts men and women and gives them hope, the Pope is content. If this nomination as 'Person of the Year' means that many have understood this message, at least implicitly, he will certainly be glad," Lombardi continued.

In honor of Time's award, here are the year's top stories about Pope Francis:

Pope Francis won the Internet. Literally.

Even atheists love this Pope

Pope Francis' embrace of a severely disfigured man touches world

Why the Pope's embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful

Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

Pope Francis: No more business as usual

The Pope’s bold new vision

Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays

Pope Francis on gays: 'Who am I to judge?'

The pope said what? Six stunners from Francis

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (210 Responses)
  1. Universe

    Verses regarding Mary in Quran (Islamic Scripture)

    “Mention in the scripture Mary. She isolated herself from her family, into an eastern location.” [19:16]

    “While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being.”

    “She said, "I seek refuge in the Most Gracious, that you may be righteous."”

    “He said, "I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son."”

    “She said, "How can I have a son, when no man has touched me; I have never been unchaste."”

    “He said, "Thus said your Lord, `It is easy for Me. We will render him a sign for the people, and mercy from us. This is a predestined matter.' "”

    “When she bore him, she isolated herself to a faraway place.”

    “The birth process came to her by the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "(I am so ashamed;) I wish I were dead before this happened, and completely forgotten."”

    “(The infant) called her from beneath her, saying, "Do not grieve. Your Lord has provided you with a stream.”

    "If you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop ripe dates for you.*

    "Eat and drink, and be happy. When you see anyone, say, `I have made a vow of silence, [to the Most Gracious]*; I am not talking today to anyone.' "

    “She came to her family, carrying him. They said, "O Mary, you have committed something that is totally unexpected.”

    "O descendant of Aaron, your father was not a bad man, nor was your mother unchaste."

    “She pointed to him. They said, "How can we talk with an infant in the crib?"”

    (The infant spoke and) said, "I am a servant of God. He has given me the scripture, and has appointed me a prophet.

    "He made me blessed wherever I go, and enjoined me to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and the obligatory charity (Zakat) for as long as I live.

    "I am to honor my mother; He did not make me a disobedient rebel.

    "And peace be upon me the day I was born, the day I die, and the day I get resurrected."

    “That was Jesus, the son of Mary, and this is the truth of this matter, about which they continue to doubt.”

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.”

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    December 22, 2013 at 11:50 am |

    when i didn't believe in god, i thought i was hip. no proof. jesus may have lived but no way on earth was he god. ridiculous.

    let him prove it to you.


    y not?

    y not? r u kiddin? how can a fairy tale be true. beat it b4 u get hurt.

    and again

    and again

    and again

    what's wrong with u jerks? don't u no what i can do 2 little wusses like u?

    more of the same

    So, finally, i asked this gawd a question and in no uncertain terms he said, "yo. sup?"

    December 19, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
    • peppercorn

      Peace be with you.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I, for one, am glad you are no longer representing atheism. Please represent god belief if you're going to use such ridiculous "reasoning."

      December 29, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • New thoughts

        Is it possible for one person to be an atheist without "representing" an entire group?

        December 29, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  3. Bones McCoy

    Honestly, as an agnostic atheist, I think this is one of the best popes there has been, although his predecessor was good as well. He's finally steering his religion away from the fundamentalism and the literal ritual ceremonies and bringing it back to what was intended by it. To inspire people to do good deeds for others. Logic matters today and it's nice to see the last couple popes allow the possibility of alien life and to acknowledge the fact of evolution. That in itself is a big step.

    December 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  4. Misunderestimated

    "Be shepherds with the smell of your sheep...??" Is it just me or does this sentence make no sense at all. Is the pope channeling George W Bush here?

    December 19, 2013 at 7:33 am |
    • Smeagel4T

      It actually makes complete sense. I implies that maybe the "shepherds" should actually mingle with their "sheep".

      December 20, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
      • Misunderestimated

        Thank you for translating. It still doesn't sound right to me somehow.

        December 22, 2013 at 6:28 am |
  5. 7

    Hello guys.

    Everyone is invited to visit,


    December 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm |

    Here is the Greatest Hit on The Roman Church!


    December 18, 2013 at 4:32 am |
    • Former Xtian

      Geez, you spam this in every article? And all this time I thought it was just in the billboard topic. I guess you really do have no life.

      December 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  7. Dandintac

    You know, I'm having second thoughts about the Pope. His PR blitz has been highly successful–no doubt about that. He's managed to get a lot of positive attention from the media as a result. He comes across as a nice, reasonable man–desperately needed after the disaster of Pope Benedict. There have been some great photo ops–like the embrace of the disfigured man. He's said a lot of interesting things for a pope. Good for him.

    But what has he actually DONE? What, if anything at all, has actually changed officially with the church? See–that's what counts most for me. Actions. Words can be good, helpful at times, but people in positions of power should be able to effect positive outcomes. I think the pope talks a good talk, but can he walk the walk? Cardinals are generally an extremely conservative lot. I don't think they would have deliberately chosen a liberal reformer. Something tells me that after a few years, things will go back to normal and nothing will have changed at all with the church.

    December 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • bobsmithers

      I'm a skeptic to. However, he didn't build the Catholic church. Let's take step a back and give him some time.

      January 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm |
  8. Reality

    To all the misguided "believers" out there, your salvation is at hand:

    Tis mind boggling that your religions can be brought down to earth in less than ten seconds. With this in mind should not the moderators of this blog and their buddy Stevie P be looking for new jobs?

    Again for the new members:

    To wit:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    December 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Glenn

      Not very intellectual of you to try and point the finger at things that you presume have no basis because of a lack of strong evidence.

      In keeping with the spirit of your soph o moric intellectualism you should consider the following:
      1) Life from non life
      2) Matter from non matter

      And then make a list what you believe vs. what you know. You will find that you truly know very little compared to what you simply believe

      December 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
      • sam stone

        how does the possibility of a creator imply a "god"?

        December 13, 2013 at 5:57 am |
        • Glenn

          I am not sure you know what you are asking there Sam

          December 13, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • sam stone

          i know exactly what i am asking, glenn

          often, we get the argument that goes something like this

          "if there is no god, where do we come from?"

          i am asking why a creator HAS TO be synonymous with a god

          December 14, 2013 at 5:05 am |
        • sam stone

          in the case of christians,glenn, it is like they are saying that something created us, therefore jesus died for your sins

          this strikes me as a huge non sequitor

          December 14, 2013 at 5:09 am |
        • sam stone

          apparently glenn had no answer. surprising for a christan to just run.....not

          December 20, 2013 at 6:55 am |
        • chicken or the egg

          Why don't you reverse your question?

          How does the possibility of a God imply a creator? That makes more sense to ask. Use the term creator in context. I am not a god because I created cereal this morning. I didn't bring it into existence. In fact, the cereal factory mixed up that which what was already created to form cereal. I guess that doesn't make them gods either. Masters of corn syrup and bran.

          January 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
      • Reality

        Once again:

        Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this cha-otic, sto-cha-stic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-ga-ries of its local star.

        And no pope or cleric will be able to change this.

        December 13, 2013 at 8:33 am |
        • Glenn

          That is an interesting belief you have there. Of course totally improvable but hey that is why you have faith

          December 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
        • chicken or the egg

          So you do believe in Karma.

          January 4, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
      • Gavin

        Life from non life... Now done in a lab. Matter from non matter... Now CLEARLY proven by Stephen Hawking... Next objection?

        December 15, 2013 at 3:55 am |
        • Glenn

          Neither of what you just said are true. Try again

          December 16, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • whatisyourpoint

          Yes. So what is your point? God willed many things into existence:

          Genesis 2:7
          King James Version (KJV)

          7 And the Lord God formed man of the *dust of the ground*, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

          By the way, you mean simple non-living matter. Man still can't explain how that came about into initial existence.

          So once again, who created initial non-life or life, whichever?

          January 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
      • Former Xtian

        Can you define life, please? Religious folk very often state that life cannot come from non life, but they cannot prove this viewpoint or even explain it.

        The big issue is that we do not have a clear cut definition for life. Where does non life end and life begin? Amino acids? Viruses? Bacteria? RNA components? RNA molecules? DNA? Cells? It's a really tough line to walk. Please thoroughly explain this.

        Matter from non matter is a joke. How do you define non-matter? Science doesn't support this view since matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed, it is a THEISTIC view since god is believed to create everything from nothing. Funny how they always try to flip the script like that.

        December 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • whatisyourpoint

          see above. it's not the real question.

          what or who created non-life or life initially. big bang cannot explain that away. that is why i accept a supreme intelligence and master designer.

          could you imagine if we actually knew everything God did? we would be as gods. then like good atheists we would have to explain ourselves out of existence.

          January 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
    • Keith

      Reality, you are wasting your time here. This is the Belief Blog

      December 22, 2013 at 1:57 am |
      • Bagel Mode

        Au contraire, Keith, I think that Reality is bravely tackling a problem (religious delusion) head on, where many of the inflicted (the religious) dwell.

        Do you really think beliefs should not be challenged and examined? And how's that free speech looking for you?

        January 4, 2014 at 9:31 am |
        • Bagel Mode

          And thanks for your great efforts, Reality.

          January 4, 2014 at 9:32 am |
  9. Greatest Hits!!


    December 12, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Mulehead

      How this guy can continue to be on tv is mind blowing. Has been flat proven to be a fraud, yet the FCC still allows this in the name of religious freedom. Yet…in essence, he's saying nothing different than all the mega church morons out there selling their swill to the gullible masses.

      December 19, 2013 at 9:57 am |
  10. Apple Bush

    If you could only see in your reflection what is reflected back.

    Dead eyes ready to cry; confusion and fear.

    Death is always a breath away and you don’t know what will happen.

    This is what frightens you when you wave your arms to the stale songs in your hymnal.

    You know you don’t believe but you play the part; what if.

    Instead enjoy life! Nothing will happen when you die and that is the beauty of it.

    Instead live a robust life and don’t fear the nothing. You will be a better person for it.

    Now your eyes are closing; your family loves you.

    December 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb


      December 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Snaps

      Great poem again. Had to respond in kind...
      Should I be dismayed
      Or should I be elated?
      Releived? somber? bitter?
      or exonerated?

      If I could hack your dreams
      I could teach you to fly
      Then you'd see what I saw
      And you might wonder why

      (I was a young girl once
      Who loved a young guy)

      And I can't really say that I'd
      lost just my clothes
      It was more like my hands
      then my ankles and toes

      I can't tell you how
      But it really was graceless
      with upside down me
      Feeling formless and faceless

      Only now I can't force it
      Or will it
      Or fake it
      (But shapeless and weightless
      feels better than n*ked)

      So forgive the strange look
      In my sad little eye
      I just hoped against hopes
      I'd run in to that guy

      But I see no more need
      To protest with a scream
      Coz I'm just nobody
      And its just a dream

      December 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Your Oncologist

      Dear Apple,

      I'm sorry to report to you that your biopsy has come back positive. You have stage IV cancer and only months to live. Your happy robust life is coming to an end. Are you still happy? All the pride, power, money you have is completely worthless. It will not save you and you cannot take it with you beyond the grave. You are simply food for the worms. Nothing with the resemblance soul, spirit, or mind makes you special. Your just a lucky cousin of apes that happens to be on the luckiest planet in solar system, maybe the universe. You are just dust waiting to happen. But what if you are wrong? What is the outcome? You have insurance to cover car accidents that may never happen. Do you have insurance for the after-life?

      That is why I am not afraid, but empowered by my belief. You live in happiness, consequence of events. I live in joy with assurance and peace.

      January 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
  11. tony

    It's only slightly different interpretations of historicalreligious texts that has already killed 100,000 civilians in Syria so far.

    December 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Kids these days Tony...

      The evolutions of socialized cultural bandings seems to always give rise to iconoclast breeders...

      December 11, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  12. tony

    Smoke on a rope . . .

    December 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  13. Ed

    Catholic News Network...come on, CeeNeeNee, give us a break already from the fat old guys in the expensive dresses and too-small hats. BORING!!

    December 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Alias

      I hate to dissagree with anyone, but maybe the leader of the largest religion on the plannet should be a topic on a BELIEF blog.

      December 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
      • Former Xtian

        Unfortunately Catholics only make up 17% of the world. They barely make up 50% of Christians, and are only like 2% higher than atheists/non religious.

        December 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Akira

      His dress is much more modest than his predecessors; he is a newsmaker and this IS the BB.
      Where else should CNN post this story?

      December 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  14. Ed

    Catholic News Network...come on, CeeNeeNee, give us a break already from the fat old guys in the expensive dresses and too-small hats. BORING!!

    December 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.