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Pope Francis named Time's 2013 Person of the Year

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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.

"It was a very interesting choice this year," said managing editor Nancy Gibbs Wednesday.

The magazine staff makes the ultimate decision, Gibbs said, but they poll readers and take public opinion into account.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told TODAY in a statement that "the Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the gospel — a message of God's love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that."

The Argentinian was elected pope in March, just weeks after the surprise abdication of his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict. He quickly reshaped the public image of the papacy, challenging Catholics and Protestants alike on the interpretation of Church dogma on issues ranging from homosexuality to capitalism.

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