A photo of Pope Francis, with a photoshopped tattoo on his cheek saying ‘NO H8’, adorns the cover of the magazine’s December issue.
The cover also includes the quote that earned him the accolade. During a flight back from Brazil in July, he told reporters: "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?"
Pope Francis was chosen over Edie Windsor of the US Supreme Court’s DOMA case, whom the magazine said is “a hero to LGBT Americans for taking the final punch in the fight against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”
But this year’s choice for the most influential person of 2013 came about “not from our ongoing legal conflict, but instead from our spiritual one - successes which are harder to define”, the magazine said, adding that "a significant and unprecedented shift took place this year in how LGBT people are considered by one of the world's largest faith communities.”
“There are three times as manyCatholics in the world than there are citizens in the United States,” the magazine continued.
“Like it or not, what he says makes a difference. Sure, we all know Catholics who fudge on the religion's rules about morality. There's a lot of disagreement, about the role of women, about contraception, and more. But none of that should lead us to underestimate any pope's capacity for persuading hearts and minds in opening to LGBT people, and not only in the US, but globally.”
However, some of the magazine's readers were furious about the decision, and took to its website to vent their rage:
“The man says a couple of vague comments about our community, changes not one of its teachings and now he's person of the year?” said one reader. Another said: "It was ignorant of Time to name him 'Man of the Year'. It is unconscionable for The Advocate to do so!”
Others were more supportive, with one saying, “[I] Don't know why everyone is in an uproar. This Pope is the first to say something remotely compassionate when it comes to homosexuality”. Another said: “Change is slow and you have to remember that pope Francis is going against the wishes of many of his predecessors, followers and the Indian government.”
Pope Francis was named Time magazine's Man of the Year on December 11th. He was praised for was praised for "turning the Catholic Church around within months of arriving at the Vatican". READ MORE HERE.
The pontiff's victory is the second bit of positive publicity for the Catholic Church in the gay media this week, after The Local's report on a calendar of handsome priests became a viral hit.