This time last year, no one even knew the world would get a new pope in 2013. But in February, Pope Benedict XVI made the unusual announcement that he would step down, becoming the first pontiff to do so since 1415. And as it turned out, his successor, Pope Francis, was full of even more surprises as he moved the church away from polarizing issues like gay marriage and abortion to a message of inclusion. The 2,000-year-old Catholic Church is not one to mix it up, but this year has proven an exception.
Previously Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the new leader of the Catholic Church represents a lot of firsts. He is the first pope to take the name Francis, the first non-European pope in modern time, and the first pope from Latin America. He is also the first Jesuit pope. Pope Francis just beat out Miley Cyrus to become Time's Person of the Year, and ever since he became pope in March, he's amazed the world with his more open-minded outlook. Let's look at the highlights below.