April 11, 2005


Word is Third World pope need not apply, but why not? (ANDREW GREELEY, April 11, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times)

No Third World cardinal need apply for the job, so says the buzz here in these grim, rainy days after the burial of the pope. It is not yet the time for a South American or African pope -- kind of like the days when it was said it was not yet the time for a black baseball player or a black quarterback or a black head coach in the NFL. The buzz comes from certain Italian and especially curial cardinals (not all of either) and their allies in the "new" movements like the Legionnaires of Christ. It is designed to counter the media buzz of a few days ago about the possibility of such a choice -- an idea not totally lacking in intelligence.

Almost half of the Catholics in the world live in Latin America. Almost a fifth of them live in Brazil, a little less than 200 million Catholics in the largest Catholic country on the planet.

North Americans know very little about Brazil. It is a country, we fantasize, of string bikinis on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, of carnival, of rings of slums in the hills not very far from the beaches, and an eroding Amazon rain forest.

In fact Brazil is the eighth industrial nation in the world, with its own internal Third World of 50 million people. Four-fifths of its population live in cities. It has over a hundred universities, a large and thriving middle class, five television networks and a thriving literary and artistic culture.

It is also one of the most religious countries in the world. According to research I have done with my Brazilian colleague Celi Scalon, 89 percent of Brazilians believe that there, certainly, is a God, the highest rate in any of the countries in which the question has been asked. Seventy percent believe that God is, personally, concerned about them -- also the highest proportion in the world. Finally, 55 percent of Brazilians claim to be "very happy," again the highest in the world. (The next closest country is Ireland, with 45 percent, The United States is at 32 percent).

Fortunately, he's wrong about so much you'd assume this means a Third World Pope is a near lock.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 11, 2005 11:01 AM

I would like to assume it doesn't make a difference.I mean does Rove need to get involved here too?

Posted by: Genecis at April 11, 2005 11:16 AM

I started to take the article seriously until I looked up at the author's name.

Posted by: erp at April 11, 2005 11:54 AM

As long as it's not Cardinal Bernard Law

Posted by: David Reeves at April 11, 2005 2:02 PM