Thursday, March 14, 2013

A New Voice for the Poor (Thursday LINKS)

The world has a new Pope.

Pope Francis.  Former archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Maria Bergoglio.

It soon became apparent that mainstream media has not quite figured out how to cover the selection of a new Pope.  Coverage switched rapidly from the Pope's red slippers to whether or not he would support same-sex marriage (that's a big "no").  Unfortunately, most of the discussion of Pope Francis was on the latter, which I think represents a missed opportunity.  This Pope chose the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi, a great spokesperson for the poor.  St. Francis lived and preached among the poor, as has our new Pope.

The opportunity here is tremendous.  As archbishop, Pope Francis cared for the sick, rode mass transit, and spoke out against the exploitation of the poor under globalization.  In a world of unconscious progress, Pope Francis may provide a conscience.  But even if he falls short of that, even if his voice is too meek or his influence too small, there is a man on a world stage reminding us that we may be ignoring the most vulnerable in our quest for power, wealth, and pleasure.

With the recent spout of Vatileaks, and the resignation of Pope Benedict, Pope Francis will have some house cleaning to attend to first.  In my research on St. Francis, I was brought to an account of his vision of Jesus in San Damiano, during which he heard the words: ""Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins."  It can be assumed that in considering the name he would chose to serve under, this vision was incorporated.

As Pope, Francis will be expected to say things we do not want to hear.  These statements may fly in the face of our understanding of morality (same-sex marriage) or unsettle our comfortable way of life (poverty).  Please don't try to make the leader of another religion your political candidate.  Just listen.


Luke Lavoie does a tremendous job profiling Michael McCall, creator of the new Inner Arbor Plan, with quotes from all over the Country, including this one: "I don't like it when people say it is too ambitious," Laval said. "If you want it to be great, you have to think big, and you have to think out of the box."

Former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold will be sentenced today.  This is a matter of probation and how large of a fine he will have to pay, which from my perspective is far too lenient for abusing the people's trust.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake's 10,000 families initiative got off to a great start with a report that Baltimore's population increase 1,100 people in 12 months.  Don't look now, but something is working in Baltimore City.

D.C. commuters play a big part in this boom, which will be further augmented by a new transit-oriented development site next to Penn Station.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: CA Today profiles one of my favorite people to serve with - Andy Stack from Owen Brown.  Most people don't know this, but Andy and I went to the same small school in central Pennsylvania called Lycoming College.  Lycoming has an annual attendance of approximately 1,500 students, so this is really quite unusual.

That's all for today.  Have a great Thursday doing what you love!