New Roman Catholic pontiff voted winner of Top 10 Religion News Stories of the Year


Pope Francis, voted Religion Newsmaker of the Year, is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, having been elected Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State.

Special to The Log
Published: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM.

COLUMBIA, MO — The selection of a reform-minded Argentinian as the new leader of the world’s largest religious institution was voted the Top Religion Story of the Year by the nation’s religion journalists.

Members of Religion Newswriters Association chose as the No. 1 Religion Story of the Year the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who took the name Pope Francis. Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, was in the No. 2 spot because of his historic resignation.

Pope Francis also was named Religion Newsmaker of the Year, beating out Pope Benedict XVI and Billy Graham, who turned 95 this year.

The Top 10 Religion Stories of the Year are:

1. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is a surprise choice to succeed Benedict, becoming the first Latin American and first Jesuit pope, and the first to take the name of Francis. He immediately launches a series of stunning and generally popular forays — meeting with the poor in Brazil, embracing the ill, issuing conciliatory words toward gays and calling for a poorer and more pastoral church.

2. Pope Benedict XVI, citing age and strength issues, becomes first pope to resign in almost 600 years.

3. The U.S. Supreme Court, in 5-4 votes, clears the way for gay marriage in California and voids the ban on federal benefits to same-sex couples. Gay marriage continues to make inroads within the states, with Illinois and Hawaii becoming the 15th and 16th states to approve same-sex marriage.

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