Newspaper article China Post

Time's Person of 2013 Shows World How Leadership Is Done

Newspaper article China Post

Time's Person of 2013 Shows World How Leadership Is Done

Article excerpt

Time Magazine announced on Dec. 11 that it picked Pope Francis as the Person of the Year for 2013. Not bad for a man who is less than a year into his job.

Nancy Gibbs, managing editor of the magazine, pointed out that "rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly - young and old, faithful and cynical."

Francis set the tone of humility for his papacy right from the first day of his election. He told the crowd of over 100,000 gathered in Saint Peter's Square: "And now I would like to give the blessing. But first I want to ask you a favor. Before the Bishop (bishop of Rome, i.e. pope) blesses the people I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me - the prayer of the people for their Bishop."

From there, the Francis juggernaut set off. The world has been charmed by the new pope's everyman approach - how he prefers plainer attire than his predecessors, how he eschewed the papal palace and how he personally called to cancel his newspaper delivery back home in Argentina.

Even non-Catholics were impressed when he told the press "who am I to judge" priests' sexual orientations, when he washed the feet of a Muslim woman and embraced people with physical deformities.

The pope does not seem to stop at symbolic changes. Last month he made an unprecedented move by launching a survey to gather opinions from Catholics around the world on topics including same sex unions. He also launched reforms to the Vatican bureaucracy, including the scandal-plagued Vatican bank.

As one of the world's oldest religious organizations and bureaucracy, the Catholic Church is not known for audacity and change. Popes, on the other hand, have for centuries been revered by many as princes, "holy fathers," and personifications of divine authority. They are not known for their common touch. To change all that in just nine months, Francis has shown world leaders how to use the greatest weapon in their arsenal - their leadership. …

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