Dan Rodricks' recent column on Pope Francis as "a savvy new leader who, with deeds and words, puts mission before doctrine and speaks truth to power" delivers a message that would be wise for us Maryland legislators to keep in mind during the 2014 legislative session which convened in Annapolis this week ("A 'street' pope who challenges economic disparity," Dec. 24).

Although I had 12 years of schooling in Baltimore's Catholic schools, I am drawn to this pope not for his teaching on religious doctrine but rather for his guidance to the world regarding public policy. Mr. Rodricks writes, "We have heard a pope say the poor are blessed, but we have not heard one correctly call them victims of a corrupt financial system."

In a recent apostolic writing, the pope said: "Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth encouraged by a free market will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts."

More than a few of my colleagues in the legislature have mentioned how much they admire Pope Francis and how grateful they are that he is so vocal regarding what he describes as "a global system that fosters breathtaking disparity." Now it is incumbent upon us members of this body to evaluate each public policy and budgetary matter that comes before us to determine whether it widens the gap between the rich and everyone else, particularly the poor, and vote accordingly.

Hopefully, Pope Francis' example will enhance our courage as well as our compassion.

Del. Liz Bobo, Columbia

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 12B in Howard County.

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