However, he does think that changing world views, in addition to more Latinas becoming college-educated, has already encouraged them to open up about their anti-religious stance. Along with these factors and the Pope's “blessing”, he thinks more will feel empowered to express their beliefs – even if it does go against their culture's grain.
Lilliam Alfaro, a Latina atheist from Baltimore, has already taken that step. She said that the Pope's testimony about atheists doesn’t mean much to her. After all, what good is an invitation to a place you don't believe in? But she does appreciate the Latin Pope's inclusivity to those who don't necessarily buy into the teachings of the church or a religion in general. Although she hasn't see the same acceptance from her own parents, yet.
“My sister told me that my mom asked her when I was going to baptize my kids,” Alfaro told me. “My sister just told her 'Mom, she doesn't believe in that, why would she?’”
In a conversation with my own mother about it, she still sounded just as let-down as the day my brother announced his atheism.
“I don't know what made him lose his faith, but I know he'll get it back,” she said. “I know he will.”
But cultural ties aren't making Latinos go back inside the atheist closet anymore. Perhaps with the Pope's encouragement, their families will be more welcoming at the door.