What a delight it is to have Pope Francis. He irritates all the right people. He is canny and good at the same time. The man has a courage that is enviable. Today, just now, comes news that will help change the world. I have no idea if he would spin his actions as I do. I think he is creating a path to sainthood for those who give their lives for others. He is saying that those who are willing to non-violently enter the most dangerous and lethal situations may eventually be deemed saints.

Of course, there is the Catholic matter

Not all of us are Catholic.

Not all of us by billions. No religion is universal save in their adherence to what is finally true and beautiful. This means that in all probability the Pope's door will be open to professing Catholics. But the Pope's act speaks to all. Let us imagine that on an interfaith basis all religions basically said that the courage to die for your friends is not limited to soldiers. It extends to those who die for such things as tolerance, human rights, and democracy.

Imagining a future

Were I writing a novella about this, my hero might be a suicidal veteran of the Iraq war. I would make it a he. He would speak to a priest about his despair. The priest would mention the news about the Pope's fourth way to sainthood.

That would be a good title -- "The Fourth Way."

The priest tells him that the Pope is talking about people who serve others. For the first time, our self-absorbed, opioid-inclined friend begins to escape his inner prison. He visits a shelter and befriends some homeless sorts. They get into a tussle with some jobless kids. One thing leads to another.

Our hero ends up making a sacrificial dive to save a small girl from death.

Walking for a better world

There could be another novella about a girl who becomes a walker for a better world and is so successful that she ends up a marked person. The point is that the Pope has opened up a door to envisioning social action in exactly the way some philosophers, Robert Nozick among them, have envisioned we must become -- willing to sacrifice for the good of the order, the community.

The Jesus Paradigm

Jesus must be seen as the paradigm of this understanding. Whatever else he may have been, he was a non-violent speaker of truth who called others to take a similar path. He observed that the way was not always easy. He preached a gospel more heavy on sacrifice and goodness than on prosperity. The Pope knows and understands this. His action today will make the world see more clearly.