Wednesday, March 13, 2013

EXTRA: Francis, the 1st Americas pope

FRANCIS: As American as anyone in U.S.
I have to confess – when I first learned that the College of Cardinals had managed to pick a new pope Wednesday (I was sitting in an auto repair shop and a television set happened to be turned on), my initial reaction was to think that they had reverted back to tradition of picking Italians to head the Catholic Church.

Yet I quickly realized that while the one-time Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio may be Italian in ethnic origins, he is very obviously the first American pope.

HE’s FROM ARGENTINA, and he had been the cardinal based in Buenos Aires to head the Catholic Church in that region of the world.

Which means he’s a reminder that I think people in this country often need – not every European who chose to immigration to the Americas wound up in the United States.

Pope Francis was born in Argentina – but is the child of immigrants who made their way to a new country to try to build a better life for their families (all five of their kids).

One of whom grew up to be the Pope – so perhaps they didn’t do so badly!

OTHERWISE, WE’RE NOT going to be in for any significant change, even though some want to believe that a non-European pope means “radical” change for the church.

It’s not like the new Pope Francis (he gets the “I” added after his name if there ever is a Pope Francis II in the future) has many stances on issues that differ from the official rhetoric of the Catholic Church.

Which means we’re still in for the partisan fights amongst Catholics as to who is legitimately “Catholic” enough to qualify.


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