Papal election, media lapses

March 13th, 2013
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“…in Latin America they’ve been waiting 20 centuries for a pope from this area” -

Miguel Almaguer, speaking today to NBC’s Brian Williams.

Even casual observers of the Papal conclave will have noted the level of ignorance displayed in the recent media coverage. For example, commentary today raised the issue that Pope Francis is a “social conservative”. It took Father Jonathan Morris to point out that, by any post-modern yardstick, ALL the Cardinals in the conclave are social conservatives. They’re Roman Catholic Cardinals!

The quote above adds a layer of historical ignorance, or at least out-of-whack hyperbole. This is not to say that the ancient Mayans and Incas weren’t accomplished. But Mr. Almaguer’s suggestion that the Latin Americans had, since the first century AD, been waiting for one of their own to be elected Pope stretches credulity.

Or perhaps we can attribute the statement to mere nativist exuberance. A Latin American is Pope and chances are the region won’t have to wait another 2000 years for another one.

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By John Weissenberger