Two events of historical importance occurred on Thursday, March 14, 2013: Cardinal Jorge Mario Brogoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, elected Pope Francis on Wednesday, March 13th, spent his first full day as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church in Rome and Xi Jinping became the president of the People’s Republic of China together with being General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and Chairman of the State Central Military Commission.
China, identifying its interests appropriately, on Tuesday, March 12th, elevated the 11th Panchen Lama of the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism to a top political advisory body to represent the interests of the Chinese state in Tibet. Message from China is clear, especially after the recent intrigue in the Vatican on Benedict XVI’s life: China is a Confucian-Buddhist state and Vatican meddling is not appreciated in the religious affairs of China.
Latin America is an important Chinese constituency for its socialist leanings. The region, however, is also predominantly Catholic from Cuba, Mexico and Central America to Brazil, Argentina and Chile. It represents the largely Spanish speaking Catholic south of the Latino Italian-Spanish Europe. Only Brazil does not speak Spanish. It speaks Portuguese.
Pope Benedict XVI is now emeritus pope after his retirement to make way for the Italian-Argentinian Spanish speaking Francis. The Vatican chose Benedict XVI’s successor wisely, carving the world between the eurocentric Latino Catholics and the Confucian-Buddhists of Xi Jinping’s monolithic Communist Chinese state: at issue is poverty and its reduction, around the world, from the slums of Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro to Dharavi in Mumbai and the countless poor in China.