Over 1.2 billion Roman Catholics across the globe found out Wednesday who would lead their Church after the resignation Pope Benedict XIV; Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina. The selection of the man who will now be known as Pope Francis, the first Pope from the new world, represents changing demographics in a church that is growing faster in Latin America than anywhere else on the globe.
Bergoglio was known as a humble and compassionate cardinal that lived in a modest apartment and took the bus to work. On social issues, within the American political spectrum, Bergoglio is unsurprisingly very conservative. S.E. Cupp writes on TheBlaze contributors page Thursday how the Bergoglio selection could play in political terms with Latino and Catholic Americans:
With 480 million Catholics in Latin America alone, his appointment signals the enduring influence of Latinos the world over on the Church. And for Hispanics and Latinos in the United States, Bergoglio potentially brings a highly personalized and deeply-felt sense of pride in their Catholic faith, which may inject a renewed enthusiasm and vigor into a religious and ethnic demographic that has often times felt like outsiders in both their country and their church.
Politically, this could, again, mean one of two things. The looming figure of Pope Francis brings Hispanic Catholics in the United States toward him on social issues like abortion and marriage, helping to reform Catholicism back to its traditional orthodoxy. Or, Bergoglio’s staunch positions strike a discordant and anachronistic tone with Hispanic Catholics who have already evolved leftward, pushing them further away from the church, and further away from conservatism.