He’s right between King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud and Ben Bernanke.
As Forbes notes:
The spiritual leader to one-sixth of the world’s population–1.2 billion souls–delivers the final word on matters of abortion, gay marriage, female priests and, most recently, Occupy Wall Street. In October the Vatican called for a supranational authority to oversee the global economy: “To function correctly the economy needs ethics, and not just of any kind but one that is people-centered.”
2011 Lowlight: Two victim groups asked the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute Pope Benedict XVI for covering up instances of sexual abuse.
You can read about Forbes methodology for more:
The ranking takes into account four factors. First, we measured how many people a person has power over. For a religious leader, like Pope Benedict XVI (#7), that would be the number of adherents, or Catholics, in the world. For a CEO, like General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt (#28) we counted the number of employees.
Then we looked at the financial resources controlled by each candidate, whether that is revenues (for a company), GDP (for a country) or net worth (for a billionaire). Next we asked: Is a candidate influential in more than one arena, or sphere? This bumped up the ranking of people like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (#17), who is a powerful politician, a self-made media billionaire and a major philanthropist.
Finally, we gave consideration to how actively the candidates wield their power. This measure eliminated inactive heirs to great fortunes, semi-retired industrialists and former heads of state. In all, 70 people made the final list, one for every 100 million people on the planet.
And see who else is on the list.