News

Pope to Meet Mexican President Saturday

Pope Benedict XVI blesses a young Mexican boy as he arrives in Leon, March 23, 2012.
Pope Benedict XVI blesses a young Mexican boy as he arrives in Leon, March 23, 2012.

Pope Benedict meets with Mexican President Felipe Calderon Saturday, as the Roman Catholic leader embarks on a five-day Latin America trip that will also take him to Cuba.

The pontiff began his day with celebration of a private Mass at Miraflores College in the central Mexican city of Leon. He planned an early evening meeting with the Mexican leader at the state government house in Guanajuato, followed by a gathering with children on the city's Peace Square.

On Sunday, the pope is presiding over a huge outdoor Mass in Leon.  

Thousands of supporters turned out to welcome the pope when he arrived Friday at Guanajuato International Airport.  They spread out along the entire 32-kilometer route from the airport to Leon, cheering and chanting "brother, you are now Mexican."

It was a warmer welcome than some had predicted for Benedict, who had not been expected to generate the excitement made by his predecessor. The late John Paul II was the first pope ever to visit Mexico and widely revered there.

Drug violence

The pontiff said he would pray for those imperiled by Mexico's drug violence.

"I will pray especially for those in need, particularly those who suffer because of old and new rivalries, resentments, and all forms of violence," he said.

President Calderon said his countrymen welcomed the papal visit.

"There are many challenges that we have had to face in recent times. The pope is welcomed by a people that have suffered,'' he said.

While on board his flight to Mexico, Pope Benedict told reporters that the Church must do all it can do to prevent young people in Mexico from joining drug cartels.  He said a lust for money was behind the country's drug violence.

Mexico's bloody drug war has left about 50,000 people dead since President Calderon launched a crackdown on the drug cartels in 2006.

Visit to Cuba

This is Pope Benedict's first visit to both Mexico and Cuba.

The Roman Catholic Church is under pressure in Mexico from the growing rise of Protestant churches, as well as a scandal involving a prominent priest, Marcial Maciel, who was facing allegations of drug addiction and molesting young boys when he died.

During the flight, the pope said the Catholic Church is ready to help Cuba move away from communism, saying the Marxist ideology no longer corresponds to reality.  He said the Church is willing to help Cuba move ahead without "trauma."  

In Cuba, the pontiff is expected to meet with President Raul Castro, and visit Santiago de Cuba and Havana, before leaving for the Vatican March 28.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs