Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was elected the first Latin American pope on March 23, 2013, had lived in Latin America for the vast majority of his 76 years. In his introductory remarks, he made reference to the fact that he felt he had been picked from “the ends of the planet.”
What Connection Does Pope Francis Have to Latin America
In the two thousand years since the Church was founded, nothing like this had ever happened. (Another landmark was the election of a Jesuit as bishop of Rome.) However, as time has passed, this event has shown to be anything but incidental. In fact, it has resulted in a variety of ways, each of which elevates it beyond the status of ordinary coincidence.
In fact, during the first eight years of his pontificate, Pope Francis’s prior existential experiences have not only manifested as the fruit, active or passive, of his long years spent in Latin America, but have also given rise to an undeniable benefit: the legacy of a rich body of speeches that the pope has produced in, for, and from the Latin American region.
The 76 years he spent in Argentina, where he had strong pastoral, educational, and episcopal relationships, undoubtedly broadened his understanding of the region as a whole. They now seem to be the foundation upon which the pope’s communications to the area and the rest of the world depend.
The pope’s concern and attention for what we could generically call “processes of regional integration” stand out as among the most novel themes running through his remarks.
Francis has spoken out in support of Latin American integration while simultaneously expressing gratitude to the historical factors that contributed to the unification of the Old Continent and praising the dedication of those he calls “the founding fathers” of the European Union on multiple occasions.
Beyond the short-term reversals that have marked the perpetual oscillation of Latin American politics, the pope’s intellectual perspective on integration extends into the long-term.
Hinting at an extensive body of knowledge acquired over nearly eight decades spent in the region, either consciously, through specific readings, or less consciously, a body of insights which we might trace back to that historical culmination of regional thinking on the subject that spanned the 1960s and 1970s, his comments on the importance he attaches to the unity of the continent hint at an extensive body of knowledge. Thanks for reading our article What Connection Does Pope Francis Have to Latin America.