Decolonial interpreters of Global South societies know very well that the geographical location of thinking and praxis is never a sufficient condition for a liberationist discourse. The coloniality of knowledge–this is the endemic reproduction of imperial epistemological designs in postcolonial societies–is as prevalent as discourses of liberation. Responses to the election of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires for the papacy, however, have presupposed the merging of the two antithetical trends in the region. On the one hand is a conservative Catholicism with sources in the Spanish Falangism that served as longtime ally to reactionary powers; on the other hand is a liberationist trend that has original sources in the protests against the conquest and exploded as a movement in the 1970s as an ally to Third Worldist movements. While Jorge Bergoglio may be a moderate force within the first tradition, his record speaks by itself. During the military dictatorship he collaborated in the persecution of his socially engaged subordinates. In the current political scenario he has declared a “divine war” against civil equality and started a crusade against the new wave of social transformations that are taking place in the region. Some members of this network, however, still want to hope that Pope Francis will have a “Romero conversion.” I commend the positive wishes of friends and colleagues (independently of the fact that some contest this reading of Romero). I would love to share with them this hope since I consider deeply interesting that a Latin American Jesuit was chosen as a descendent of Peter and I dream he would call for a Third Vatican Council. Catholics around the world could benefit from a radical re-evaluation of class, racial and sexual politics. But I cannot. While Romero allegedly converted in the 1970s in the streets of San Salvador, Bergoglio had over forty years to convert in the streets of Buenos Aires. But he did not. There is no reason for us to believe he can convert inside the walls of the Vatican.
Click here to read more about Santiago Slabodsky’s work.