NEIU Reactions to New Pope

Desiree Dylong, News Editor


Local Saint Viator Parish
Local Saint Viator Parish. What does NEIU community think about New Pope?
Photo by George Borawski

A tone of the unconventional has been set within the Catholic Church with former Pope Benedict XVI resigning from the Papacy. The newly elected Pope Francis differs from most of his predecessors in several key ways.
For instance, Pope Francis lived humbly prior to becoming pope. According to an article from the Wall Street Journal titled “‘Father Jorge’ Rose From Modest Roots” by John Lyons , Ken Parks and Mathew Cowley, “When he was promoted to archbishop of his hometown in 1998, he eschewed the palatial residence used by his predecessors and opted instead for a small apartment next door to the cathedral on the Plaza de Mayo, where he cooked his own meals.”
John Ross, a Communications Professor at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) who also studied pastoral studies at Loyola University Chicago, stated “I think fact that he took the name Francis is very telling. St. Francis of Asissi’s ministry was about the poor, the hungry, the sick and the dying.” He also said that these are all things that Jewish, Muslim and Buddhists communities are concerned about. “Even if our doctrines are different, we all care about human rights” stated Ross.
When a new person takes over a position of power such as the Papacy, the public often questions how things will change. Will the non- traditional attitude of Pope Francis towards luxury truly make an impact on the church and globe as a whole? Ross believes that the church’s traditional doctrines may not change much as far as views on having women as priests and their views on homosexuality, but there may be more help towards the poor.
Another aspect that always comes along with a change in power is controversy. One piece of controversy that circulated not too long after Pope Francis was elected was the question of whether he should be considered the first Latino Pope. According to, the Pope was born in Argentina, but is of Italian descent.
Since Pope Francis was elected, there have been articles that have claimed and even embraced the Pope as Latino. For instance, an article on by Julie Unruh has the headline, “Chicago Students Excited for Latino Pope.”
Some individuals at NEIU feel that the media has been misleading when it comes to dubbing Pope Francis as the first Latino to take the Papacy. NEIU student Chakira Hamilton stated that, “Some people are not going to take the time to do the research and look beyond what the headlines say and find out that he’s actually Italian, so there is an area of deception.”
Ross offered some perspective and said that when it comes to the media, it’s important for individuals to be critical thinkers. “I think what they should’ve said is that he’s not a Latino Pope, but should’ve said he’s a Pope from the Latin World,” stated Ross.
When speaking of self – identity in terms of nationality, Ross offered, “I think a big question is self- identity and how you want to identify yourself. It’s possible that this Pope doesn’t see himself as Italian.” Ross also said that there’s no harm in the Pope identifying himself as an Argentinean as long as it is not meant to deceive and is how he truly identifies himself.