Thumbs up for naming Pope Paul Francis as 'Time Man of the Year'
Pope Francis is off to a great start. After all, how often does a man became person of the year in his first year on the job?
I like the choice for several reasons:
1) It's nice to see a religious leader, a man who represents millions around the world;
2) He has not started any wars or promised public programs that he can't deliver; and,
3) I like his frank approach to issues. I may disagree with him here and there but I like the fact that he forces us to talk about these issues.
On abortion and same sex marriage, Pope Francis is pro-life and believes in traditional marriage. His comments are about our tone or the language that we use to criticize others.
That's what I heard!
On matters of social justice, Pope Francs is not a communist or Marxist.
I've had conversations with Latin American clergy over the years. They've seen poverty. Like Pope Francis, they've seen the slums of Rio and other cities. Capitalism and free market theories look a lot different in those slums.
Our challenge as Catholics is to show the Pope that the best way to help the poor is to empower them. Maybe he can read some of the works of Hernando de Soto the great Peruvian economist.
Mr De Soto has called for empowering the poor in Latin America with property rights and the rule of law. He has devoted his life to that cause:
"De Soto tells these heads of state that their poor citizens are lacking formal legal title to their property and are unable to use their assets as collateral. They cannot get bank loans to expand their businesses or improve their properties. He and his colleagues calculate the amount of "dead capital" in untitled assets held by the world's poor as "at least $9.3 trillion"-a sum that dwarfs the amount of foreign aid given to the developing world since 1945."
It's actually working well in Chile and leaders are listening in Colombia, Peru and others. It is not working in Venezuela, Cuba & Argentina, the Pope's homeland.
Pope Francis is a great choice. I believe that Pope Francis' heart is in the right place!