Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?
Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Person of the Year on December 11.
December 11th, 2013
05:58 PM ET

Pope Francis is 'person of the year': So what’s new?

By Ben Wedeman, CNN

ROME (CNN) - When the white smoke billowed from the chimney in the Sistine Chapel, we ran, along with thousands of others, up the Via della Conciliazione to Saint Peter’s Square to hear the announcement. We waited around 45 minutes, then heard the name “Bergoglio”

“Who?” was my first reaction. I looked around in confusion. CNN Rome cameraman Alessandro Gentile shrugged his shoulders, as did producer Livia Borghese. Others around us, with the exception of an older English woman, who must have been an amateur Vaticanista, were equally mystified.

In the nine months since that night in March, we’ve come to know Jorge Bergoglio, otherwise known as Pope Francis. He keeps us busy almost every day, with his latest pronouncement, his latest gestures, large and small. I have a pile of books about Francis on my desk. The Google news alert I set up months ago for “Pope Francis” now fills up my e-mail box, exceeding other alerts for Italy, Rome, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Iran, etc. I regularly listen to podcasts about Francis on my phone.

For foreign journalists based in Rome, Pope Francis has in fact been our “person of the year” long before Time magazine settled on him. He quickly eclipsed the noisy, chaotic game of musical chairs called Italian politics. And Francis has turned out to be a balm for those who for year after year had to cover flamboyant scandal-drenched former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as their like-it-or-not Italian “person of the year.”

At home, my lapsed Catholic Italian wife has put Francis’ picture on the wall. Italians are notoriously cynical when it comes to public figures, but ask them about “Papa Francesco” and their reaction is almost invariably positive and effusive.

“He has a humble heart, he’s great, he’s beautiful,” gushed a giddy middle-aged woman from the Naples area when we asked her Wednesday what she thought of Francis becoming Time’s Person of the Year.

And regardless of who wins the title next year, at this rate we can assume, at least here in Rome, Francis will be person of the year for several years to come.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (612 Responses)
  1. Sugarmama7

    Megan is a prime example of how white people are bigots without even realizing it. All she know is that white is right and she dare could never imagine Santa being a black man, mean really how good he have rosey cheeks? Boy these ritz are really gonna be surprise when they see what Jesus really looks like. I dont see how he could be fair skinned with blue eyes from Jeruselum, Im just saying.....

    December 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      posting on the wrong article

      December 15, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  2. PSYmuffin

    You must be kidding. He has done nothing. But then again BO was awarded the Nobel Prize for much the same. It regrettably illustrates just how few impactful people there are in leadership roles in today's world.

    December 15, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • Science Works

      Another side !

      Pope Francis is TIME Magazine's Person of the Year for doing nothing at al


      December 15, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  3. More cover up ?

    By court order !

    Minnesota Archdiocese Reveals Names Of 30 Priests Accused Of Abusing Minors


    December 15, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  4. keith

    YES GOD wanted this, he called in to TIME magazine to make sure that this occurred. How can someone who believes in FAKE beings be PERSON of THE YEAR, how ridiculous and how DUMD is TIME magazine. It's okay for you bible-thumpers to think he is so great yet someone who does BAD and blames GOD isn't given the same amount of respect... Why, because it's not TRUE all of it. GOD/JESUS/BOB & TOM never existed and don't make or control anyone's life PERIOD........

    December 14, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Just like an atheist. Strong opinions, but not a shred of evidence to back it up...

      December 18, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • igaftr

        Hey...just like EVERY RELIGION men ever created. Not one shred of evidence.

        December 18, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  5. Akira

    At least he fixed the first sentence from black smoke to white smoke.

    December 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  6. Gawd

    Stop perpetuating these myths! You are keeping people ignorant when you do this.

    December 14, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  7. Dana

    He looks like he is checking out an altar boy from behind in that picture.

    December 14, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  8. Dan

    It's very sad that people still believe in these fairy tales.


    December 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Yet, that same fairy tale will send you to the lake on Judgment Day. Imagine that...

      December 18, 2013 at 10:05 am |
      • igaftr

        Or, you will be re-incarnated according to the way you liveed this life....or you get into Valhalla if you die in battle...or on and on...
        Most likely nothing happens considering the fact that no one has ever shown any form of "afterlife".

        December 18, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  9. FYI

    ..In the popes earlier years, he frequented rectory org–ies. It's a well known fact in Venezuela.

    December 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  10. Look at meeeeee!!!

    I'm humble.

    Fact,, the pope continues the abuse cover ups as he refuses to answer to the UN about world wide clergy abuse and cover ups.

    This guy is a con man.

    December 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  11. Advent


    December 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Patsy

      Ick! SuperCheese. Stinky poo.

      December 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  12. laststonecarver

    Sam bo stoned deserved it. She has encouraged how many xtards to end their lives, huh? I ask u?

    December 14, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Salero21

      Take his advice! Please! 😀

      December 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  13. laststonecarver

    I voted for Sam bo stoned, she's our gal!

    December 14, 2013 at 5:31 am |
  14. Robert Constant

    What IS new is that Pope Francis is on record putting the Catholic Church in opposition to the Republican Party. In an Exhortation, the first major writing of his papacy, the Pope called the Republican philosophy on the poor " selfish, greedy , naive and not working. By inference, he has signalled Catholics to stop supporting Republicans.
    The Pope cited the Republican positions as being a violation of the Commandment,"Thou Shalt Not Kill." In so doing he made clear his pronouncement was a matter of morality.
    It is Catholic Dogma that when the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra on matters of faith or morals he is infallible .

    December 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • EX Catholic

      That is just what it is a roman-catholic dogma only. A mumbo jumbo a mere game of semantics.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Mitch

      That is not true at all. Give me one instant where he specifically mentions the Republican Party.

      December 14, 2013 at 11:07 am |

    Look at their hate! They'd rather let children STARVE TO DEATH than let two men get married. They helped raise $40 MILLION DOLLARS to keep gays from marrying in California.

    How many starving children would that have saved from death?

    Now tell us again how PRO-LIFE you hateful hypocrites are.

    December 13, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Dana

      They like people who can reproduce so they can bilk more people out of their hard-earned money.

      December 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  16. But nothing has changed in the Catholic Church

    Not one thing has changed.

    December 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • EX Catholic

      Mostly agree! There have been many "cosmetic" changes.

      December 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
  17. But nothing has changed in the Catholic Church


    December 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm |

    He got the award for saying things but not actually doing a god damned thing about anything he said.

    SAME OLD HATEFUL CATHOLIC CULT – but they now hate you with a SMILE.

    Yeah – much better.

    December 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Jacob Fox

      When you misuse the world "Cult," it does not do wonders for your opinion. A cult is a small and obscure religious following and whether you believe in Catholicism or not, it is not a cult.

      December 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

        noun: cult; plural noun: cults

        a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

        December 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • you've been pwned


        December 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • Ask the people who survived the Inquisition

        "has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous"

        December 13, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • David

        All religions can be considered cults.

        December 13, 2013 at 11:54 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.