Ernesto Bassi, professor of history at Cornell University focusing on Latin America, comments on Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Beroglio's appointment as the first Latin American pope.
"Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Beroglio is not only the first Latin American pope but also the first Jesuit to occupy the holy seat. The significance of his election for Latin America merits discussion.
"What does it say about the Catholic church that, after centuries of hosting the largest Catholic population in the world, Latin America is only now being rewarded with the papacy? What does it say about the Catholic church that the election of a Latin American pope only comes at a time of deep crisis, at a time when, even in Latin America, Catholic fervor is clearly losing ground to less hierarchically structured Christian movements?
"Beroglio and many Argentines and Latin Americans may be celebrating, but this appointment appears as a political and marketing strategy that feels like 'too little, too late.'"