Kathleen Sprows Cummings, Special to CNN | Mar. 15, 2013 | CNN
Editor’s note: Kathleen Sprows Cummings is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. The views expressed are her own.
U.S. Catholics can be certain of this: Papa Francesco will make no abrupt reversals, least of all on issues over which they find themselves most disconnected from church teaching. But during a time when so many of them are clamoring for change, they are likely to be encouraged by any break with precedent at the highest levels of church leadership. In particular, the elevation of an Argentinian to the papacy represents a monumental shift in the church's center of gravity that should resonate with Catholics throughout the Western hemisphere.