I nominate Pope Francis. Though he has not been Pope for even six months, Francis has proven to be truly exceptional. In rejecting most of the pomp and ceremony synomymous with the Papacy, he has made it clear that he is sincere in his actions. When I first heard that he would be performing Easter Mass in a juvanile hall, I was very impressed that he would do it there and not Sistine Chapel; and I was further impressed to learn that as Cardinal of Buenos Aires he made it a personal tradition to perform Easter Mass in such places.
After Hugo Chavez’s death many people wondered who would fill the void and speak for Latin America, and I think that Francis will become that spokesman. A major reason why he was chosen was because he’s from Argentina, as Latin America is where most Catholics are located. Being from the Western Hemisphere alone makes his election a huge milestone; granted his parents were immigrants from Italy; a country that has had way too many Popes.
What I find most impressive about Francis is his dedication to the poor, consistantly stating that helping the poor should be a priority of the Church. Its too early to tell now, but hopefully he will manage to turn the Church into a new direction. Child labor and wage slavery (the subject of my post from yesterday) are something he has consistantly condemned, along with human trafficking. If you have travelled to Latin America and witnessed these things first hand, as I have, you will see things that will never leave your heart. I have been very happy to see Francis speak out against such evil has made me very happy, it is good to know that there are some people of power addressing it. I just hope he will do the same for a certain problem his Church has been having, I don’t think I need to specify what.
In terms of influential Argentines, Francis now shares a legacy with Juan and Eva Peron, Che Guevara, and Jorge Luis Borges. Each one has left a lasting impression on the world, all for very different things. Just a little bit of trivia.
Anyway, all of these things about Francis have convinced me that he will be a very influntial figure in years to come; and that is a major criteria for Time’s Person of the Year. My runnerup is Edward Snowden, but he came in the spotlight even later.