Identity politics and the pope

Identity politics and the pope

Boston reporters are out getting statements from anyone they can about the new Pope and they aren’t even bothering to check if they even make sense. What’s wrong with this quote?

“There were two very good candidates, but I guess the Catholic church just isn’t ready for a minority to lead them,” said Gomes, just after a noon prayer at the Mission Church on Mission Hill.

If you said the word “minority,” you’re right. She was referring to Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria and Cardinals Geraldo Majella Agnelo and Claudio Hummes of Brazil. Here’s a clue: neither of them are minorities. Not in their own countries, not in their continents, and not in the Church. But racial identity politics is a hard habit to break for an American. Here’s another whopper:

“The Catholic church is the richest in the world, but it hasn’t reached out to the poor like it should. I feel that if the pope had been from the Third World, that would have changed.”

Hasn’t reached out to the poor? Name one institution that does more and has done more for the poor of the world. Go to any place in the world where there are poor people suffering. Who will you find there ministering to them? Catholics! Who is the number one provider of medical care to AIDS patients in the world? The Catholic Church. What is the number one non-governmental aid group in the world? The Catholic Church.

The skin color or national origin of the man who holds the office of pope has nothing to do with whether the Church is reaching out to the poor. The desire to have someone of the same race or national origin as you as pope, just because he is the same race or origin, is as racist as not wanting him to be pope because of his race or origin.

The headline is offensive as are the sentiments expressed in the article.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli