The magazine's editors selected the pope as the person who had the greatest impact on the world, whether good or bad, this year. Pope Francis has been at the helm of the Catholic Church since March.
Time managing editor Nancy Gibbs said Pope Francis had changed the tone, the perception and focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way.
The newest numbers released Wednesday from an ABC News/Washington Post poll show 92 percent of American Catholics and 69 percent of all Americans see the pope in a favorable light.
Edward Snowden was the runner-up on Time's list.
ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.