Still, critics say the Roman Catholic Church is a slow-moving institution, where traditions hold strong. A Latino pope may be too unconventional for such a conservative institution that "thinks in centuries," said John Moody, a former Vatican correspondent and the Executive Editor at Fox News.
"There will be Latinos among them capable of accepting the burden of the papacy," he wrote on Monday, "But they may be hidden in the long shadows of tradition and a diminishing appetite for the unexpected."
CORRECTION: A former version of this article stated that there has never been a non-European pope. It has been updated to reflect the fact that there has never been one in modern times.