Although, as a New Yorker, I had nurtured some hope for Cardinal Dolan to be chosen as our new Pope, one thing gave me pause. The Pope needs to communicate the Good News of Christ to all the people of the world, and our beloved Cardinal Dolan is supposedly not the best linguist. When Blessed Pope John Paul II was elected to the pontificate, he addressed the crowd in Italian in order to show them that a foreigner from another country could still communicate to them as a native son. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI did the same. Yesterday, Pope Francis continued the tradition by speaking to the crowd in Italian. But as an Argentinean, Pope Francis' native language is Spanish.
Although many sources report that Pope Francis is fluent in Italian, Latin and German, only one prominent U.K. newspaper has so far confirmed that the new pope speaks English at all. A search for documents written by our new pope in English has yielded very little fruit. On the other hand, he has published at least ten books in Spanish. What does this mean for Catholicism and the Church?
To me, it signals that Spanish is poised to be one of the key languages of the new evangelization. There are 425,490,000 Catholics in Latin America alone, according to the Huffington Post, and the vast majority of these Catholics are Spanish-speaking. Latin American Catholics in fact represent 39% of the world's total Catholic population. In addition, more than 35% of Catholics in the United States are Hispanic or Latino, as estimated by the USCCB.
My own personal Catholic experience is deeply interwoven with a Spanish-speaking tradition, since I converted to Catholicism through the influence of my husband and of his family, who immigrated here from Spain. My husband and his siblings grew up speaking Spanish in the home. When the extended family gathers together for meals, my father-in-law normally "blesses the table" by saying grace in Spanish. When we pray the rosary as a family, everyone prays in their own language, half of us reciting the prayers in Spanish and half of us using English, all at the same time. To an outsider, it probably sounds a bit like the first Pentecost. Some of the first Spanish words I learned were the words of the Our Father and the Hail Mary.
All of this has led to a conviction in my mind that proclaiming the Gospel in today's world cannot remain confined solely to the English language. And so, in honor of our new Pope Francis, I would like to create a Spanish-language version of this blog to proclaim the Church's good news about marriage and family to a broader, more global audience.
The name "Can We Cana?" doesn't translate particularly well into Spanish, but there are two possibilities for the new blog's title. To all my Spanish-speaking readers, please take a vote here on the blog, on facebook, or on Google+ for which of these two titles you like best:
Casarse en Cana [or] Casamiento en Cana
Please help me spread the Good News!