Pope Francis and Two-Way Ignorance

Pope Francis isn’t much of a fan of things American these days, but his visit to this country was a revelation:

Prior to his election Francis had never set foot in the United States, making him the only pope in the last eighty years other than St. John XXIII who had never been to America before taking office…People close to Francis also say his U.S. trip last year helped him to better distinguish between ordinary Americans and “the system.”

But when another world leader discovered something, the evaluation was different:

Latin Americans also tend to have long memories, and many still recall moments such as Ronald Reagan’s famous reaction upon returning from a 1982 trip to the region: “You’d be surprised … they’re all individual countries.” The fact that national differences could strike a U.S. president as a revelation still rings in Latin American ears as proof of our capacity for condescension.

What I think we’re looking at is two-way ignorance.  There’s a lot that people in the U.S. need to learn about Latin America, but the converse is also true, as we see with His Holiness.

The relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the U.S. has always been a complicated one, from stuff like this to this.   And the rise of obsessively sex-driven liberalism will only make it worse.

One Reply to “Pope Francis and Two-Way Ignorance”

  1. When the Vatican turns over all its files on child rapists to police around the world, then I’ll maybe grant the Pope a hearing. Still though, the Catholic Church is a monarchy and the USA a democratic republic. As you imply, it’s not like ignorance is the only thing driving disagreement between such different systems.

    The Catholic Church still carries an incredible inheritance–spiritual and cultural. Would that we in the US took families more seriously. But as someone whose great-grandfather fled Italy to escape being forced into the Catholic priesthood, I’m glad the American system is different.

    That said, Americans definitely could stand to learn more about Latin America. But it’s tough for us as the global hegemon to keep up with every region in the world. I mean if you’re an educated African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Russian whatever you learn English and are exposed to American culture. Then maybe you learn about another region or two. Whereas, we have a bunch of different languages and regions to master but no clear number 1 priority with the importance of English for foreigners, so we end up scattered and dabbling. Not really sure how to get around that. Maybe, intermediate coverage of everywhere with less specialization? Or we could play a zone defense. If you’re in the New England, you learn French or German and bone up on the EU. Texans all learn Spanish and Californians Chinese???

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