Catholic or not, it’s hard not to notice Pope Francis‘s authentic public persona and savvy media style. His media prominence continued its steady climb in December, gaining +4 to  77 TrendSignal points and moving up +4 rank positions to the #13 spot in the World Leaders category.

We reported last month on how his ability to get closer to the public while addressing issues important to the church led to higher TrendSignal scores over the prior month.  In December, Pope Francis continued his message of brotherly love and acceptance, while supporting the Vatican’s public position on many topics and issues facing Catholics and other religious denominations. Much of his Papal comments took a softening tone without contradicting the Vatican’s long held positions on subjects like same sex marriage (+3 @ 87 TrendSignal pts.), abortion (-2 @ 81 pts.), and reproductive rights (-3 @ 51 pts.).

The Pope’s TrendSignal has continued to climb from October 2012 when his selection was announced and continued to ride a positive media momentum curve towards 80+ points.  There is definitely some cyclical media coverage surrounding the Christmas period (see TrendSignal timeline below), so we may see some deceleration in his TrendSignal as we move out of the Christian religious media buzz period of December/January.

Pope Francis TrendSignal Timeline

I felt the more in-depth article by John Carroll in the New Yorker summed up Pope Francis’ first year as the new voice of the Catholic Church quite well.  I highly recommend the read for those interested in how a prominent world leader is leading not only the Catholic faithful, but also influencers in the media.