“He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century” –Person of the Year | TIME picks the person who most influenced the news each year, for better or worse
Jorge Bergoglio chose his papal name, Francis, after Francis of Assisi, the 13th century patron saint of the poor, and rightly so. According to TIME, “the 13th century Francis turned to the ministry when, as legend has it, he heard a voice calling to him from a crucifix to repair God’s house. He left his prosperous silk-merchant family to live with the poor. He was a peacemaker, the first Catholic leader to travel to Egypt to try to end the Crusades. He placed mercy at the core of his life.”
Pope Francis has invited homeless men to his birthday party, has actually prayed and cared for the sick, snuck out of the Vatican to serve the homeless, welcomed the LGBTT community back into the church, and has inspired so many Catholics to go to mass again. So many people have come out to say that they are glad that they finally have a leader to look up to who actually aligns with their beliefs, even though they weren’t necessarily Catholic.
Pope Francis aims to repair the Catholic Church to what Christianity and, primarily, what every other religion is all about—love.
“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” Pope Francis told Father Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit magazine Civiltà Cattolica, in an interview published at the end of September. TIME’s person of the year wants actual transformation that involves embracing the poor, the spiritually broken and the lonely. He wants to spread love.