It is easy to see that Pope Bergoglio is multicultural and has many identities that are fluid and dynamic. Perhaps the greater question is, with all of the candidates who are racially indigenous or even black and South American, why go with one who is racially white?
Some speculate that it is Pope Bergoglio’s Italian ancestry that gave him the cultural capital needed to gain the revered post, helping to keep the racial hierarchy employed by the Catholic Church in place.
Pope Francis I (Bergoglio’s chosen moniker) was celebrated in his Italian ancestral village even though he was not raised there, which is not unusual (Kenyans celebrated President Obama’s historic win even though he was born in the United States and raised primarily by his American mother).
What is interesting is that at a time when there are more Latino Catholics than any other cultural group, the Catholic Church would go with the status quo — an Argentinian with Italian roots who racially reaffirms the racial and ethnic hierarchy of the papacy of old, under the guise of connecting to the shifting racial and ethnic demographics of the church of today.
The Catholic Church’s new Latino pope isn’t really that new, at least racially — in fact, his appointment could be read as old hat. We’re all grown here — Pope Bergoglio is a safe choice for reasons that are obvious to some and willingly overlooked by others …