Every year Time magazine and others choose their person of the year, and my choice, first mentioned in a private note from someone who read my latest column, is that the Person of the Year should be Pope Francis.

He has put helping the poor, social justice, common decency and challenging income inequality back where they belong: on the front pages and center stage in our national and global dialogue. No wonder Republicans, who champion trickle-down economics, which Francis strongly criticized, cannot handle the truth about the teachings of Jesus as explained by Francis.

Francis is having a wonderful and powerful effect on our dialogue at a time when the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is squeezed unmercifully.

It is sad to see so many Republicans baffled, confused and angry by the teachings of Francis. Some on the far right, laughably, call him a communist or a socialist. What hypocrites! Next, some loud and angry voices on the far right might suggest Francis is a Muslim, or was born in Kenya.

Francis is a good man, a great man, a kind man, a learned man, a devout man, and above all a voice of compassion, faith, and kindness in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount. He is the person of the year, and he may turn out to be the person of the century.