The pope, whose full name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected as the head of the Catholic Church in March and has been viewed as a revolutionary figure.
“He stood out to us as someone who has really changed the tone and the perception and focus of one of the world’s largest institutions in an extraordinary way,” Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor, said on the “Today” show on Tuesday.
Time magazine staff is responsible for choosing the winner, who is the person “who’s had the most impact on events and on our lives, for better or worse this year,” Gibbs said.
The Vatican released a statement about the honor, according to “Today.”
“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 that God’s love for everyone, he’ll certainly be happy about that.”
The runners-up include:
2nd place: Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor
3rd place: Edith Windsor, whose case resulted in the strike-down of the Defense of Marriage Act at the Supreme Court earlier this year
4th place: Syrian President Bashar Assad
5th place: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a freshman senator and Tea Party member