Monday, March 26, 2012

Pope Preaches Against Violence During Mexico Trip

Pope Benedict XVI departed from Mexico minutes ago but not before speaking out against the country’s rampant violence.

“At this time when so many families are separated or forced to emigrate, when so many are suffering due to poverty, corruption, domestic violence, drug trafficking, the crisis of values and increased crime, we come to Mary in search of consolation, strength and hope," he said during an outdoor mass on Sunday.

The Pope also called on Catholics to reaffirm their faith during the ceremony attended by several hundred thousand people gathered at the Bicentennial Park in Silao.  He said that believers should resist “the temptation of a superficial faith that is at times fragmented and incoherent” and urged them to “recover the joy” of being Catholic.

According to a statement from Mexican president Felipe Calderon’s office, both he and the Pope urged the need for “an international treaty” to combat the illicit arms trade.  Both leaders also reportedly discussed nuclear disarmament and “food security” during their private meeting on Saturday night.

The Pope tried to emphasize his message against violence vis-à-vis Mexico’s youth.  “The disciple of Jesus does not respond to evil with evil, but is always an instrument of good instead,” said the Pope at a gathering of over 4000 children in Guanajuato.  On the flight to Mexico on Friday, he declared that young Mexicans should “unmask the false promise” behind the narcotics trade and drug culture.

Despite the emphasis on faith and youth the Pope neglected to directly discuss about the victims of sexual abuse from priests.  He did not address allegations of wrongdoing and abuse from the founder of the Legionnaires of Christ, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel.  Juan Jose Vaca, one of Maciel’s “most prominent victims,” expressed his disappointment that the Pope neglected to meet with “victims and survivors of other atrocities” of abuse in Mexico.

Not all Mexicans were pleased with the Pope’s visit to their homeland.  Prior to his arrival in Guanajuato, approximately fifty people demonstrated against the Vatican’s policies on reproductive rights and the gay community.  That protest in Mexico City also opposed the millions of dollars spent in public funds to accommodate the Pope’s visit.

Mexican Catholic Church officials like Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles, head of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, defended the Pope’s visit and claimed that “nobody can accuse him of being complicit or lacking will” regarding the sexual abuse scandals.

The Pope left one of the world’s most populous Catholic countries and is currently en route to Cuba.  He is expected to arrive at approximately 3:30 EDT at the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

Video Source – YouTube via Associated Press

Online Sources – BBC News, El Universal, Milenio, Sydney Morning Herald,, The Latin Americanist, The Telegraph, CNN

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