News) Time Magazine named Pope Francis its "Person of the Year"
this past week, a choice heartily seconded by our contributor Nancy Giles:
I consider myself spiritual, but not religious. I haven't been to church since Easter. And I'm not a Catholic. But in his nine short months, the new Pope, Francis, Bishop of Rome, has kind of blown my mind.
He's different -- an Argentinean and the first non-European Pope in more than a thousand years. His resume is fascinating -- he worked in a chemical lab, he loved to tango, and (get this) he was a bouncer. That's right: the spiritual leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics was one of those guys who kicked troublemakers out of clubs. You've gotta love that!
The editors of Time Magazine sure did, naming Pope Francis their "Person of the Year." And considering the other finalists included Senator Ted Cruz and singer and twerker Miley Cyrus, all I can say is, "Thank God."
No pun intended.
Pope Francis started a conversation about a more inclusive Catholic Church, one with a larger role in the church for women, and compassion for victims of abuse by priests, for non-believers, and for gays.
"Who am I to judge?" he said.
It's a big step forward.
And earlier this month, the Pope drew a connection between living one's faith and the very real issue of income inequality. He challenged the "trickle-down" economic theory, writing that "it expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
By the way, Pope Francis isn't a fan of trickle-down Catholicism, either. He passed on living in the luxurious papal residence, and chose a simple Vatican guesthouse.
This Pope drives a Ford Focus (27 city, 37 highway), and has said it hurts him to see priests or nuns driving fancy cars. Be humble, he says. "If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world."
I'd probably walk if he said that to me.
Pope Francis' vision of the Catholic Church is bold and scrappy. He prefers a church "bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."
That sounds like a church that's secure enough to adapt to a changing world and the changing needs of its people -- and that sounds pretty good to me.