The man who's taught the world the meaning of humility: He lives in a B&B and makes sandwiches for his guards. Could Francis be the greatest Pope ever?
By Guy Adams originally published in the Daily Mail 25 12 2013
Bespectacled, modest 77-year-old from Argentina was elected in March. He has washed Muslim prisoners' feet and ridden the bus with bishops. On Christmas Eve he carried a heavy statue of the baby Jesus himself. He shuns ornate papal apartments and made a guard a jam sandwich.
Question: Who was the most talked about person in the world this year? Answer: Not Justin Bieber, Prince George or even Nelson Mandela, but a small, grey-haired man from Argentina called Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Known since March 13 as Pope Francis, the spectacle-wearing 77-year-old was 2013’s most discussed human being, according to the Global Language Monitor’s annual survey of the internet.
The accolade lays bare his astounding ability — unique among modern religious leaders — to shape the news agenda and capture hearts and minds with a succession of charismatic speeches and colourful public gestures.
Pictured posing for a 'selfie' inside St Peter's Basilica in March, Pope Francis has seen his popularity and that of the Catholic church soar. He has been named Time magazine's person of the year
Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of a prisoner at the Casal Del Marmo Youth Detention Centre during the mass of the Lord's Supper in March.
Yesterday, Francis drew a near record crowd estimated at 100,000 to St Peter’s Square in Rome to hear a Christmas address where he called for ‘a better world, free from conflict’.
More than two million people have flocked to such audiences since his election — four times the number his predecessor Pope Benedict drew in total in 2012.
This Pope’s headline-grabbing speeches are tweeted and televised around the world. His public gestures are YouTube gold.
And his policy statements are included in the morning briefing papers of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and David Cameron.
A fortnight ago, Francis was named Time magazine’s 86th Person of the Year — an honour previously awarded to Churchill, the Queen, Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.