Pope Francis and Person of the Year: Is it Right?

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12, 2013 – Time magazine announced this week that its 2013 Person of the Year is Pope Francis. Radhika Jones, deputy managing editor of Time, explained why he was chosen.

“The Pope came onto the scene in March with … fanfare, and almost the opposite of fanfare, and immediately made his presence felt in a way that seemed different from popes in recent memory. … He’s in a position of immense power, but he introduced himself as a man of great humility. Even in a very short amount of time — he’s only been pope for nine months — he really has refocused a conversation that’s global, putting more emphasis on poverty and the poor.”

Pope Francis stood out “as someone who has changed the tone and perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way,” Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said. It’s the third time the magazine has named a pope its person of the year.

But do the people who know Pope Francis agree with this distinction, and further, is the Pope pleased with being singled out in this way?

Available to discuss those very ideas are the people who know him:

Alejandro Bermudez, author of POPE FRANCIS: OUR BROTHER, OUR FRIEND, which presents the personal insights of ten Jesuits, many who have known Jorge Bergoglio since his first days as a Jesuit, and were interviewed for this book shortly after he was elected the Pope. Non-Jesuits, including an Argentine senator, a prominent rabbi, a priest working in the slums of Buenos Aires that Bergoglio often visited, also were interviewed. Bermudez can address topics including the Pope’s longstanding simplicity and authentic spirituality; his concern for the individual and the poor; his desire for the Church to go out to the street to meet the needs of the people; abortion; and same-sex marriage. Bermudez is the director of the largest Catholic news Agency in Spanish, ACI-Prensa, and the executive director of the Catholic News Agency. He translated Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio's book, On Heaven and Earth, into English.

Andrea Tornielli, author of FRANCIS: POPE OF A NEW WORLD, is the first biographer of Pope Francis and knows personally the former humble pastor of one of the world’s largest archdioceses; a cardinal who took the bus, talked with common folk, and lived simply. He knows the story of why the cardinal electors of the Catholic Church set aside political and diplomatic calculations to elect a pope to lead the renewal and purification of the worldwide Church of our time. Tornielli is a Vatican correspondent for the highly regarded Italian newspaper La Stampa who has collaborated with numerous Italian and international publications

For the full list of books and pamphlets Ignatius Press has published on Pope Francis, please visit http://bit.ly/1kDePQA.

For more information, to request review copies of the aforementioned books or to schedule an interview with Bermudez or Tornielli, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276 or [email protected]) of Carmel Communications.