RELIGION: The Final Conversion of Pope Francis


Anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes and historian Jennifer Scheper Hughes shed light on Pope Francis’ background and the multiple challenges he faces as the first leader of the Catholic Church from Latin America.

On March 12, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires entered the Vatican papal conclave in Rome with a heavy heart. He had just resigned as Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires and had already chosen a simple room in an Argentine retirement center for Catholic clerics when he was suddenly summoned to the Vatican following the shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger. Instead, he would now be sequestered with 114 other cardinals until they reached a divinely inspired consensus about who would be the next spiritual and political leader of an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, 40 percent of whom live in Latin America.

Jennifer Scheper Hughes
Publication date: 
January 13, 2015
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article