Time named Pope Francis its 2013 Person of the Year Wednesday, calling him "The People's Pope." The pontiff beat out NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and pop's twerking queen Miley Cyrus, among the 10 other finalists announced Dec. 9. Pope Francis is the third pope chosen to don Time's annual cover since the conception of the honor in 1927.
Since being elected pope in March, Pope Francis has made headlines for statements and actions that suggest a shift in how he intends to lead the Catholic Church from the reign of his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, who, in a rare move, stepped down from the lifetime role.
Pope Francis has caused a stir for his criticisms of trickle-down economics and other conservative economic policies, for suggesting a more open-minded attitude toward gays and lesbians, and for resisting some of the opulent aspects of the papal lifestyle, among other attention-grabbing moments.
For the first time, Time incorporated Twitter voting in considering its choice for Person of the Year, though the decision was ultimately up to its editors. In its Person of the Year cover story, Time explains, "What makes this pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church."