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    Pope Francis Holds Mass in Gritty Mexico City Suburb

    Pope Condemns Crime, Inequality in Mexicoi
    Zlatica Hoke
    February 14, 2016 11:53 PM
    Pope Francis has condemned crime and social inequality in Mexico in his homilies and talks with political leaders. On Sunday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated Mass in the crime-ridden suburb of Ecatepec, infamous for violence against women. During the rest of his five-day visit, the pope will also visit Mexico's impoverished indigenous communities in the State of Ciapas and places that struggle against drug cartels.
    Pope Condemns Crime, Inequality in Mexico
    VOA News

    Pope Francis held an open air Mass Sunday for some 300,000 Catholic faithful in Mexico City's gritty suburb of Ecatepec.

    The pontiff, in his message, spoke out against the drug trade and associated violence, a central theme of his five-day visit.

    "Let's get that in our heads, with the devil there is no dialogue," he said while urging the faithful to resist vanity, pride and wealth.

    Pope Francis begins Mass in Ecatepec, Mexico, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered as Pope Francis began a Mass, expected to be the biggest event of his five-day trip to Mexico.
    Pope Francis begins Mass in Ecatepec, Mexico, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered as Pope Francis began a Mass, expected to be the biggest event of his five-day trip to Mexico.

    In a final prayer at the end of the Mass, Francis urged Mexicans to be on the " front lines'' in forging their country's future.

    He urged them to make their country "a land of opportunities, where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream, no need to be exploited in order to work, no need to make the despair and poverty of many the opportunism of a few, a land that will not have to mourn men and women, young people and children who are destroyed at the hands of the dealers of death.''

    • Catholic faithful cheer as Pope Francis drives by in his popemobile in Ecatepec, Mexico, Feb. 14, 2016.
    • Five-year-old Rodrigo Lopez Miranda embraces Pope Francis, during his visit to the Federico Gomez Pediatric Hospital, in Mexico City, Feb. 14, 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.
    • This woman traveled from Panama to see the pope. She posed for a picture while waiting outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City, Feb. 13, 2016. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Lottery tickets with the image of Pope Francis, Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Souvenir hats are sold along the route the pope will travel, Mexico City, Feb. 13, 2016. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Thousands of faithful are coming to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass on Feb. 13, Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Security was tight days ahead of the papal visit, Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Images of Pope Francis are plastered all over Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Women drop off flowers at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe ahead of the papal visit, Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • Pilgrims of all ages make their way to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe to see Pope Francis, Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)
    • A vandalized photo of Pope Francis near Zocalo square in Mexico City. (C. Mendoza/VOA)

    The city of Ecatepec lies in the populous state of Mexico, a region plagued by warring drug cartels and infamous for a spate of disappearances of women, whose bodies have turned up in abandoned lots or canals.

    According to the National Citizens Observatory on Femicide [murders of women], in 2011 and 2012, nearly 1,300 girls and women -- more than half between the ages of 10 and 17 -- disappeared in Mexico, while 448 were murdered, many with gruesome violence. Further data shows that only about one-in-four such cases are investigated, with less than 2 percent of those leading to arrests and convictions.

    On Saturday, the Pope called on Mexican leaders to provide "true justice" and security in the country after years of endemic drug violence, official corruption and poverty.

    Francis told President Enrique Peña Nieto and assembled lawmakers in Mexico City they have a responsibility to help citizens gain access to "indispensable material and spiritual goods," including housing, employment and a peaceful environment."

    In a separate address to Mexican bishops, Francis urged the clerics to take a more aggressive stand against drug trafficking and corruption.  He challenged church leaders to denounce what he called the "insidious threat" posed by trafficking.


    On Monday, the pope travels to Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state, where he will preside over a Mass conducted in three indigenous languages.  He then visits Morelia, the capital of the western state of Michoacan, where farmers in 2013 took up arms to battle the so-called Knights Templar drug cartel.

    Francis caps his visit Wednesday in the U.S.-Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's former murder capital, where he is expected to address issues of crime, trafficking and migration.


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    Comment Sorting
    by: lone eagle from: Bangkok, Thailand
    February 14, 2016 11:07 PM
    In accordance with the doctrine of the Church of Christ God created man as a rational being and conferred on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1730)

    Thus evil in this world is not inherent in man since God created man, but is due to an outside influence, the devil.

    Thus the reason for Pope Francis stating "Let's get that in our heads, with the devil there is no dialogue."

    For this reason the Church of Christ performed in May 2015 a nation-wide exorcism on Mexico. However the Church did state after the nation-wide exorcism “It would be a big mistake to think that by performing a full scale exorcism of the country everything would automatically change right away" but the Church hoped it would move Mexico in the right direction.

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