The Week's Inanity: Mecklenpope!
Somebody asked if someday, a pope could come from our area. That is so Charlotte of us
We’ll have to wait on Pope Tryon I.
Last week, we got a new pope. He’s younger than the old one. He’s also a Jesuit and from Argentina and he’s calling himself Francis. Me? I’m Methodist. I just like saying the word pope. I think the world wouldn’t be as interested in the new pope if we called him the new Yahwehype Man.
Pope Francis, just like all popes, has the power to influence Catholics worldwide, all 1.2 billion of them. It’s a big deal. But naturally, just like we did after the presidential election, we’re already looking ahead to the next election. As in, could the next pope be from, oh I don’t know, Charlotte? Somebody posed that question to the head of our local diocese, Bishop Peter Jugis:
Jugis: "Not enough Catholics yet in Charlotte to warrant a pope from here or North Carolina." #newpope
— Chris Miller (@ChrisMillerWBT) March 13, 2013
Catholics, by some estimates, make up somewhere between 4 and 10% of the population in North Carolina, which puts us behind Rhode Island, where more than half of the people in the state are Catholic.
What’ve we got? Son, we got Baptists.
Yes, they have better steeples, but they don’t have a pope. They have conventions. Rev. Fred Luter, Jr. of New Orleans, if you’re wondering, is the current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Technically, he’s Charlotte’s Baptipope. He wasn’t elected in a conclave. He was voted in by some delegates in a meeting last year at the New Orleans Convention Center. I’m sure if you want white smoke there, you’d have to pay extra.
But it’s not enough to have a Baptipope. We have to have Mecklenpope. Whoever asked Bishop Jugis if we could have a pope should also be asking Center City Partners how many more hotel rooms we’ll need to get a pope. We could be a couple of Radissons away from eternal notoriety.
All of this is beside the point. In the Charlotte Diocese alone, there are more than 174,000 registered Catholics, but there are more than 233,000 unregistered Hispanic Catholics. The Diocese of Raleigh thinks only about 5% of its Catholics were actually born in North Carolina. Chances are, then, if you’re a follower of the pope here, you’re not actually from here, and you’re Hispanic. For every St. Matthew Catholic Church, there is an Our Lady of Guadalupe. More than half of all Catholic churches in North Carolina offer Sunday services in Spanish. As goes the Catholic Church, so goes North Carolina.
So maybe North Cackylackapope isn’t as impossible as it sounds. Besides, Pope Francis rode the bus. Charlotte is extending the light rail. That can’t be a coincidence.