The Coming Avalanche of Ignorance
Just so you know: one side-effect of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI is that an ever-more incompetent and ill-disposed media will be weighing in night and day with misinformation by the bucketful. Exhibit A (though I’m sure there have already been plenty of others): someone named Sara Miller Llana of the Christian Science Monitor:
With the surprise announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will resign at the end of this month, many in the so-called “global south” are hopeful that a new pope might finally hail from Asia, Africa, or Latin America.
Latin America is home to 40 percent of the world’s 1 billion Catholics: Brazil is the largest Catholic country in the world, and Mexico is the second largest.
There has never been a non-European pope, and naming a leader from Latin America, Africa, or Asia would be considered a radical new direction for the Eurocentric Vatican. But it would also reflect a new, and to many a long overdue, pragmatism within the institution.
“Never been a non-European pope?” Well, since the Great Schism that’s true, but never? A check of something as simple as Wikipedia reveals the following:
•Peter and Evaristus (first century), both from the Holy Land;
•Anicetus and Victor I (second century) from Syria and North Africa, respectively;
•Miltiades (fourth century) from North Africa;
•Gelasius I (fifth century) from North Africa;
•Theodore I and John V (seventh century) from Palestine and Syria, respectively;
•Sisinnius, Constantine, and Gregory III (eighth century), all from Syria.
There are lots of historical reasons why there haven’t been any non-European, and in fact not very many non-Italian, popes over the last thousand years, but the point is that even the slightest bit of research would have told Llana that her assertion quoted above was untrue. If the media is going to get such a simple matter of fact wrong right out of the gate, imagine what kind of nonsense the next several weeks are going to bring us.
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