Pope Francis Named Time's 2013 Person of the Year

TIMEa Saghy
Time's 2013 Person of the Year cover

The pontiff beat Miley Cyrus, Jeff Bezos and world leaders for the magazine's annual honor.

Sorry, Miley Cyrus. The twerk-loving pop star wasn't named Time magazine's 2013 Person of the Year, despite making a shortlist that also included Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Instead, the honor went to Pope Francis, Time revealed on Wednesday. The newly elected pontiff who's made headlines for his humility was the individual Time editors decided had the most impact on the world and the news -- for better or worse -- over the past year.

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In explaining the magazine's choice on Wednesday's Today, Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said the pope is "someone who has changed the tone and perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way.

"So much of what he has done in his brief nine months in office has really changed the tone that is coming out of the Vatican," Gibbs added. "He is saying, 'We are about the healing mission of the church, and not about the theological police work that had maybe been preoccupying us.' "

Francis is the third pope to be awarded Time's Person of the Year honor. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement read on Today 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."

NSA leaker Edward Snowden ranked second on Time's list, but some are saying that he should have received the top spot. Other runners-up included gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory led to the demise of the Defense of Marriage Act, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

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Cyrus and Bezos both made Time's shortlist, revealed on Monday's Today, as did 2012 winner President Barack Obama, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The winner of Time's annual online vote, announced last Thursday, was Egypt's Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who received 449,596 votes, or 26.2 percent of the total, beating out Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who received 356,771 votes or 20.8 percent, and Cyrus, who received 279,300 votes or 16.3 percent of the total.

Time editors make the ultimate decision about who takes the Person of the Year honor but they poll readers and take public opinion into account.

Watch Gibbs discuss Time's choice on Wednesday's Today.

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