Pope Francis has been named “Man of the Year” by the latest Italian edition of Vanity Fair.
The Argentinean pontiff, elected in March 2013, had earned the accolade for his words and deeds during his first 100 days in office.
The front cover of Vanity Fair magazine shows Pope Francis, 76, wearing plain white robes and a white skull cap, waving at a crowd.
“His first one hundred days have already placed him in the category of world leaders who make history,” the magazine said.
“But the revolution continues.”
Five celebrities, including Sir Elton John and the Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, were quoted by the magazine in praise of Francis, the first Jesuit Pope.
“Francis is a miracle of humility in an era of vanity,” Elton John told the magazine.
Elton John said he hoped that Pope Francis’s message would reach marginalized groups in society which “have a desperate need of his love”, including homosexuals.
“The Pope seems to want to take the Church back to the old values of Christ and, at the same time, bring it into the 21st century,” he said.
Elton John, who has been in a civil partnership since 2005, said he hoped Pope Francis could “reach out to children, women, men who live with HIV and AIDS – often alone, and hidden away in silence”. His praise for the Pope is perhaps surprising given the Vatican’s uncompromising stance on issues such as gay marriage, women priests and married male clergy.
While Pope Francis has adopted a much more relaxed, informal style than Pope Benedict XVI, he is regarded as being as much of a doctrinal conservative as his predecessor.