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Pope Francis Visits Mexico's Drug-Plagued Michoacan State

  • VOA News

Pope Francis arrives for Mass in a golf cart at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

Pope Francis arrives for Mass in a golf cart at Venustiano Carranza stadium in Morelia, Mexico, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016.

Pope Francis has urged Mexico's clergy not to resign themselves to a society dominated by drug-fueled violence and corruption, but to continue the fight against injustice.

"What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?" the pope asked during a mass for priests, nuns and seminarians in Michoacan state, the heart of Mexico's drug-trafficking country.

"Faced with this reality, the devil can overcome us with one of his favorite weapons: resignation," he said.

"A resignation which paralyzes us and prevents us not only from walking, but also from making the journey; a resignation which not only terrifies us, but also entrenches us in our sacristies and false securities."

Michoacan state has endured some of the most gruesome episodes of Mexico's drug war, which has left 100,000 people dead or missing in the past decade.

Organized crime groups in the area have battled for control of methamphetamine production, which is prevalent there.

Pope Francis greets a child as he walks in procession at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe before celebrating Mass in Mexico City, Feb. 13, 2016.

Pope Francis greets a child as he walks in procession at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe before celebrating Mass in Mexico City, Feb. 13, 2016.

Later Tuesday, the pope was to tour the city's cathedral and hold a second Mass with Mexican youths in a stadium.

Pope Francis began his five-day visit to Mexico on Saturday, meeting with officials in a call for them to provide "true justice" and security in the country after years of endemic drug violence, official corruption and poverty.

On Sunday, he spoke before members of Mexico's indigenous population and asked for forgiveness for the exclusion they have suffered by society.

Francis caps his visit Wednesday in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Ciudad Juarez, where he is expected to address issues of crime, trafficking and migration.

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