Pope Francis Is Time's Person of the Year

12/11/2013 at 07:50 AM EST

Pope Francis Is Time's Person of the Year
Pope Francis
Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters/Landov
Pope Francis is Time's Person of the Year for 2013, it was announced Wednesday morning.

"He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing," says the newsweekly, which, like PEOPLE, is published by Time Inc. "The septuagenarian superstar is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century."

What "makes this Pope so important," explained Time, "is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), 'the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.' In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church ... above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors."

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