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What's Been Said: Obama, Colbert on Pope

Image: Pope Francis washes the feet of a young offender
Pope Francis washes the feet of a young offender during a mass at the church of the Casal del Marmo youth prison on the outskirts of Rome as part of Holy Thursday, on March 28, 2013.OSSERVATORE ROMANO / AFP - Getty Images file

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One year ago, Pope Francis became the 266th Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State, but no one foresaw his widespread popularity or some of the non-traditional changes he’s pushed — or at least hinted at — in the Catholic Church.

Garnering attention at the speed of light and boasting over three million followers on Twitter, the pontiff formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio has received widespread praise from the multitudes — everyone from comedians to world leaders have commended his guidance.

Here now are just a few of the most interesting things said about Il Papa over the past year:

Speaking at the 68th Annual Al Smith Dinner in October, comedian and host Stephen Colbert, a Catholic himself, roasted the pope:

"It's not just his humble lifestyle that gets my chasuble in a bunch. He's off message! Saying: Catholics, please stop obsessing about homosexuals, abortion and contraception. For Pete's sake, we need something to be obsessed about now that 'Breaking Bad' is over."

In December, Time Magazine managing editor Nancy Gibbs explains the decision to name Francis the "2013 Person of the Year":

"Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly ... He has placed himself at the very center of the central conversations of our time: about wealth and poverty, fairness and justice, transparency, modernity, globalization, the role of women, the nature of marriage, the temptations of power."

Televangelist Joel Osteen, in an interview on Fox News in December said:

“I'm sure there are certain things that, you know, people may not agree with, but I like the fact that he's made the church more inclusive.”

In a CNBC interview in October, President Barack Obama expressed how impressed he was with the pope’s pronouncements and "incredible humility":

"[He’s] somebody who’s first and foremost thinking about how to embrace people as opposed to push them away…How to find what’s good in them as opposed to condemn them, and that spirit…that sense of love and unity seems to manifest itself in not just what he says but also what he does."

Former Democratic House speaker and "Crossfire" Co-host, Newt Gingrich, said in January:

''I think every Republican should embrace the pope's core critique that you do not want to live on a planet with billionaires and people who do not have any food,'' he said. ''I think the pope may, in fact, be starting a conversation at the exact moment the Republican Party itself needs to have that conversation.''

In a January interview with the New York Times, Jewish Senator Bernard Sanders said:

"You know, we have a strong ally on our side in this issue - and that is the pope."

Cosmopolitan Editor and Chief, Joanna Coles took to Twitter in September saying:

"Not religious but I like the new Pope's comments on gays and abortion and including women in Catholic discussions #it's a start."

In a February meeting with the Pope Philomena Lee, the woman behind "Philomena," the film expressed her feelings of gratitude for the Pope:

"He really made me feel so good inside because I carried the guilt inside me for 50 years, without telling anybody" [referring to the adoption of her son who was born out of wedlock in 1950 Ireland.]

Actress turned host of "The View," Whoopi Goldberg, said during an October broadcast:

"We are rooting for Pope Francis to make some changes in the Catholic Church. We love Franny! But he's still got a couple of things to work on."

Sen. John McCain was quoted in December saying:

"His economic perspective I’m not particularly enamored with, but his advocacy for the poor, his lifestyle example, his more modern outlook on social issues — I’ve been very impressed."

Though the pope definitely has some of the most popular ratings of any pope before him, some conservatives feel he still may be a little too liberal.

Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin said in a November interview on CNN:

"I’m kinda trying to follow what his agenda is, you know I’m surprised he came out with a couple of things in the media," she said. "He's had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me."

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said while on air in December:

"They [Time Magazine] name him man of the year simply because he attacks capitalism and ticks me off."

NBC News' Polly DeFrank and Mel Bailey contributed to this report.

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