What the First Latino Pope Means

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu, assistant professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount and James Martin SJ, a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America Magazine, and author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everythingand Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, discuss what Pope Francis' selection means for Hispanic identity and the future of Catholicism in Latin America. 


Cecilia Gonzalez-Andrieu and James Martin, SJ

Comments [35]


"But, no, he does not reflect the majority indigenous and/or black people in 'Latin America'."

what are you talking about...
the new pope looks exactly like the majority of the argentineans. if he were brown, that would be an anomaly
im form chile btw and here also there are millions of white-european looking people (not as much as argentina tough)
a "brown" indigenous looking pope wouldn´t be representative at all...

Mar. 22 2013 01:07 PM

Reply to Sheldon from Brooklyn.
I live in the UK,London. I lived for many years in New York City before I retired to England. I remember quite well when Jewish people in America were not considered White but of mixed Racial Heritage, Mostly White with Middle Eastern bloodline which proves their right to Israel. Indeed DNA has proven this. I am Jewish, White, Blue Eyed with Family from Germany. I am shocked to hear you represent all Americans as viewing all people from Latin America as non-white. You sound like a wanna be white supremacist with a Jewish first name. Europeans see White Latinos as white, yet still see Jews as mixed race.

Mar. 21 2013 11:26 PM
KAH from Long Island

All that matters is that he is a man of peace.

Mar. 16 2013 08:20 PM
oscar from ny

It means god likes latins

Mar. 16 2013 03:21 PM


He's complicit in throwing folks out of helicopters, to their to their deaths.

Not to mention, being the Boss of the world's biggest ORGANIZED CHILD SEX RING!!!

Mar. 15 2013 11:54 AM
Minnie from Carroll Gardens

Alas, I am too late in asking if there's any truth to the reports that the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a bit of a rebuke to the more hard-line conservative Brazilian candidate, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer.

Mar. 15 2013 11:15 AM
The Truth from Becky

Seems pretty clear to me Antonio.

Mar. 15 2013 10:57 AM
Jose from NJ

To jgarbuz from Queens, I known both of them and they both act and say the same things of all the rest of South America.

Mar. 15 2013 10:48 AM
Jose from NJ

Quote "it just means from Latin America, which is pretty much everything in our hemisphere minus the US, Canada and a few small countries in South America."

illfg. I guess you do not know any Argentinean. From my experiences this will include, Argentina. Which themselves consider to be White European. It Just happens that they are located in South America. This I was told directly by Argentinean.

Mar. 15 2013 10:42 AM
Mike from Tribeca

The irony of this forum's heated debate about race is that there is no such thing as race.

Mar. 15 2013 10:40 AM
antonio from baySide

Please explain?

Mar. 15 2013 10:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jose

If it is any consolation, the Urugyuans consider the Argentinians beneath them! They are even more "pure blooded" Europeans than Argentinians.

Mar. 15 2013 10:32 AM

Jose from New Jersey - latino is not race specific. it just means from Latin America, which is pretty much everything in our hemisphere minus the US, Canada and a few small countries in South America. Hispanic refers to those of spanish speaking descent. Your racist attitude shows. He is a Latino, he is NOT a hispanic, he is of Italian descent, which in Argentina is common.

Mar. 15 2013 10:30 AM
Tony from Canarsie

The election of Pope Francis may not sit well with some Americans. After all, Georges-Henri Lemaitre, who was the first to propose the theory of the expansion of the universe, popularly known as "the Big Bang theory," was also a Jesuit priest.

Mar. 15 2013 10:30 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

"political refugee" caller....

so popes with traditional views now get labeled "right wing zealots".

WOW .... glad that I'm not a Catholic.

Mar. 15 2013 10:29 AM
Jose from New Jersey

They choose a White not a Latino, He is Italian. They will not choose a black, Latino or African pope. It just the way of the Vatican. He is not Latino. On another note. I have met plenty of Argentinian and they all say the same thing that they are not Latinos they are White and European and they consider every other South American country below them.

Mar. 15 2013 10:25 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Hmm, John, are you saying he can't be both? Or are you finally accepting the fact that many Americans do not consider "Latinos" white - regardless of how light their skin or eyes are - that includes you. Sorry man, welcome to America.

Mar. 15 2013 10:25 AM
steve from Vienna, Austria

My wife is an Italian Citizen, and I want to add that she sees Pope Francisco as an Argentinian.

Mar. 15 2013 10:22 AM
john from office

So, Becky Andrew Coumo is a latino therefore not white??

Mar. 15 2013 10:22 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Argentina is a very European country that just happens to be located in South America.

Mar. 15 2013 10:20 AM
Maya from Manhattan

Hispanic/latino are labels the US government & media slaps on everyone south of the border You do realize they do not ascribe race as Hispanics can be of ANY race-black, white, Asian, Indigenous or a mixture of any the adore-mentioned groups. While there are issues surrounding race and class in Latin-America, they are complex, varied and at times unique to various countries in Latin America.

That said, why is no one talking about the issues surrounding Bergoglio's conduct during the the Dirty War?

Mar. 15 2013 10:20 AM
carolita from nyc

My mother is from South America, and my dad is european. Do you think I identify as American in my heritage? No, I call myself bi-racial, and I iidentify as Latina in most issues. So, why would a man whose two parents were from Italy identify as Latino American? Growing up with children of immigrants, I know we ALL identified as the heritage from which we came. And let's be real here. We're talking about race. They did not pick a "brown" pope. They picked a white guy who happened to be born in the southern hemisphere. When I heard they might pick a latin american pope, I had hopes that he would be someone that looked like my uncle, who'd had the same kind of life -- because make no mistake: to be brown in South America is not as good as it is to be white in South America. This man had advantages that the aboriginal south american did not have.

Mar. 15 2013 10:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

He is a fan of San Lorenzo Football Club, not Boca Jrs or River Plate..That goes a long way.

I've heard that the President of Argentina and Pope Francis, aren't exactly the best of friends due to his opposition to a gay marriage bill and his lack of criticism of the dictatorship during Argentina's "dirty war."

Mar. 15 2013 10:19 AM

he is first generation argentinian of Italian descent. As a first generation american of italian descent i dont understand the "he is latino". his home culture was most likely ITALIAN. he was just born there. Just like myself. I didnt eat american food at home or live an "american" life. First generation people are in between cultures. neither where their parents are from and neither where they currently live.

Mar. 15 2013 10:18 AM
bernie from bklyn

a pope segment? who cares? we have to hear about the diference between the pope being called latina or latino?
no me importa!

Mar. 15 2013 10:17 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Well, yes, I guess he's Latino/Hispanic because he speaks Spanish and is Italian.
But, no, he does not reflect the majority indigenous and/or black people in 'Latin America'.
Unfortunately, this distinction will probably be lost on many of these people, who are lost and turned out on a 'mestizo' pipe dream.

Mar. 15 2013 10:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think that the reason why south America is called "Latin" America is because Spanish, Portugese and French are Latin languages. It has nothing to do with ethnicity, but rather language.

Mar. 15 2013 10:14 AM
The Truth from Becky

Latino = non white

Latinos seem to get all worked up when this point is driven home to them...interesting.

Mar. 15 2013 10:13 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Religion ruins everything. Next topic please...

Mar. 15 2013 10:13 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

666, Satan Lives!!! Boogity-boo!! SCARY SCARY!!!

Mar. 15 2013 10:12 AM
Steve from Rockville Centre, NY

Strictly speaking Francis is Hispanic but our typical usage of the word implies Central American or Caribbean. Argentines and Chileans are essentially a European people. We have another European pope that happens to speak Spanish and this means more of the same in the Vatican. Good thing I gave up Catholicism for Lent!

Mar. 15 2013 10:11 AM
john from office

Brian, you don't see the racism in your question.

The new Pope is the son of two Italian parents. Would you be asking your question if he were American born, no then he is white. But to you, he is hispanic or latino.

Mar. 15 2013 10:10 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Argentina, like the US, is a country of settlers and immigrants, very many of whom came from Italy, Germany and other European countries. Argentina is not like Mexico or Central America, where indigenous populations are still very plentiful.

Mar. 15 2013 10:09 AM
antonio from baySide

Race is a social construct. But if we must...In our paradigm he is "white." In reality he's just human.
Why does this matter?
Sad this still means something..

ambiguous looking hispanic,

Mar. 15 2013 10:06 AM
Ed from Larchmont

At the founding of the Jesuits, the Company of Jesus, one of their charisms as the task of devotion and service to the Holy Father. In recent years many have not been exactly loyal to the Holy Father. Interestingly, part of the Franciscan charism is also devotion to the Holy Father and complete loyalty to the teaching of the church.

Mar. 15 2013 05:42 AM

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