Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pope Francis: TIME's PERSON OF THE YEAR

For several decades now, TIME, one of the world's most prestigious magazines, is annually honoring individuals, group or even idea and object that has done the most to enormously influence the world in a year.

It has some shares of controversies though, just like in 1982 where the public and the whole world expected STEVE JOBS of Apple to be named Person of the Year due to his influence in the world of innovation but the magazine named "COMPUTER" as the winner instead, and in 1936 when a commoner woman, Wallis Simpson, whom the British royal family extremely detested at that time, was named Person of the Year.

Simpson, who was never fully accepted by the royal family during her lifetime and was not granted an official style of Her Royal Highness, stirred the mystical world of British monarchy when she formed a romantic relationship with King Edward VIII. She was divorced and a commoner, qualities that were unacceptable for a wife of a King.  Edward abdicated and married Wallis and lived in a lonely exile all because of an inappropriate marriage.

More decades later, some of the magazine's choice of Person of the Year, often met with praises and even disdain from the public, but whatever misgivings people sometimes thought of the winner, still it is considered as one of the most anticipated features of a world-renowned magazine in a year.

This year (2013), with most finalists came from politics and controversial headliners, TIME chose someone from the religious sector, POPE FRANCIS, the Vicar of Jesus Christ and Supreme Head of the Universal Church. The pope was chosen because he changed the perception of the public about the Roman Catholic church and his move to refurbish the Roman Curia (central government of the Vatican).

The pope bested NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, gay rights activist, Edith Windsor, US Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, and Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad.

According to TIME magazine's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs " He (Pope Francis) really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way".

His election in March 2013, after Pope Benedict XVI surprised the world with his resignation, offers a new breather in the Catholic church. He rejected special treatment and abundant lifestyle often associated with Popes and maintained he wanted a poor church, he is often seen hugging pilgrims outside Sistine Chapel.

With his liberalism, fair religious treatment, simplicity and devotion to Christian principles, the reigning Roman Pontiff quickly endeared to the masses. His advocacy centers on the "church to be poor", he also declared he would "overhaul" the Roman Curia to establish credibility within the church hierarchy.

Pope Francis, who came from Argentina, has been noted with his deep humility and devotion and concern for the poor, he is often compared to the Blessed John Paul II with the same advocacy, charisma and mass appeal.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Pope Francis has lived only with one lung since his teenage years due to an illness. He graduated as a Chemical Technician and later obtained his Master's degree in Chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, he entered the seminary of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1958 and was ordained priest in 1969 as a Jesuit, he also finished a degree in Philosophy and Theology in Colegio de San Jose.

As with the rest of Jesuits, Bergoglio traveled to Spain to continue his educational and religious training from 1970 to 1973. He traveled again to Germany in 1986 to finish his doctoral dissertation. It was a Cardinal from Buenos Aires that ushered Bergoglio's fate in the Diocese ministry. Cardinal Antonio Quarracino wanted him to be his close collaborator, so Pope John Paul II appointed Bergoglio a titular Bishop of Auca, eleven years later, he was made Cardinal.

Pope Francis is the third pope to be named by TIME as Person of the Year. The first was Pope John XXIII in 1962 followed by Pope John Paul II in 1994. He is the first non-European pope in over 1,000 years and the first Jesuit ever to be elected as pope.

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