They’re Always It

Sunday, Aug. 13, 1978

Why are Popes Always Italian? (AP)

The question often arises as to why the popes of the world-wide Roman Catholic Church are nearly always Italians. The answer lies in history, geography, politics and just plain custom.

Of the 252 popes counted by the church in the last 2,000 years, all but about 40 of them have come from the Italian peninsula.

“The chances for a non-Italian have improved steadily,” says historian [James F. Hitchcock of St. Louis University.] But he still expects the [next] choice to be an Italian.

Do you think there will be an American pope in our lifetimes?
How about an African? An Asian? Why or why not?

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