The international news magazine chose to bestow the honour on the Holy Father largely because of his humility and compassion. "In a very short time, a vast, global, ecumenical audience has shown a hunger to follow him," TIME's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, wrote in an article explaining their decision. "For pulling the papacy out of the palace and into the streets, for committing the world’s largest faith to confronting its deepest needs and for balancing judgment with mercy, Pope Francis is TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year."
Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the designation was "unsurprising, considering the resonance and very widespread attention given to the election of Pope Francis and the beginning of his pontificate.