Although there had been a huge amount of speculation about the prospects for a non-European Pope, including by me, I really did not expect it. One of the reasons was the demographic composition of the College of Cardinals, which includes all Catholic Cardinals under the age of 80 (a bit ageist, but I'm sure the idea is a compassionate one that travel to Rome is harder at the older ages). Despite the huge spread of Catholicism beyond Europe's borders, 60 of the 115 Cardinals voting for the Pope (52 percent) are from Europe, dominated by the 28 Cardinals (24 percent) from Italy. Over time, the majority of Popes have been Italian, and I suspect that it did not hurt that Pope Francis is descended from Italian immigrants to Argentina.
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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Thursday, March 14, 2013
The College of Cardinals in Vatican voted yesterday to name Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be Pope of the Catholic Church. He has chosen to be called Pope Francis--which I happen to like because I'm a "fan" of St. Francis of Assisi. Despite the name, the new Pope is not from Italy, of course, but from Argentina--the first non-European Pontiff in 1,300 years. The last one, back in 741, was from Syria.