Pope Francis on the “Mexico of Violence”
The Pope’s visit to Mexico this week comes at a challenging time for the Peña Nieto government. Even the Catholic Church is not immune to the ongoing war with the cartels and government efforts to reign in the violence. Pope Francis also used his visit to draw attention to the most vulnerable — weighing in on the crisis of undocumented immigrants. — Carla Thorson, Senior Vice President, Programs
The New Yorker, by James Carroll, February 18, 2016
During his visit to Juárez, Mexico, Pope Francis called for a change in US attitudes toward this country’s migrant crisis. This article suggests that undocumented immigrants, especially Mexican immigrants, are the scapegoats of American society. Pope Francis, by aligning himself with Mexican migrants, calls into question the views of several Republican Christian presidential candidates.
The Christian Science Monitor, by Whitney Eulich, February 17, 2016
Mexico has been named the most dangerous place in Latin America to be a priest. Most assassinations of priests have been tied to their positions against the violence perpetrated by drug cartels. Some analysts cite a lack of protection for priests by the Mexican government as well as by the Catholic Church itself. The Church has already been criticized for accepting donations from drug cartels, but it is also suspected that some organized criminals use churches for recruitment or money laundering. Many hope the pope’s visit will encourage bishops and government officials to do more to protect Mexican priests.
Time, by Ioan Grillo, February 11, 2016
Many Catholic priests and leaders in Mexico have spoken out against violent acts committed by drug cartels and are now being threatened with violence. In the past, cartel members have paid “narco alms” by building chapels and giving donations to the Catholic Church. At the same time, they have assassinated Catholic leaders who speak out against them. The Church has been criticized for accepting these donations. During his visit to Mexico this week, Pope Francis said that “the Mexico of violence … is not the Mexico our Mother wants,” referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Religious scholar Elio Masferrer suggests Pope Francis could excommunicate cartel leaders, as he did Italian Mafia leaders in 2014.
The Guardian, by Erika Guevara-Rosas, February 10, 2016
This article suggests that Pope Francis should use his visit to Mexico to highlight the many human rights’ abuses that have occurred in Mexico in the recent past, including high rates of poverty, the disappearances of more than 27,000 people since 2012, and the increase in complaints of torture by government officials. Up to now, President Enrique Peña Nieto has denied that there is a human rights crisis in Mexico and Mexican authorities have not published statistics on the number of people killed or wounded in clashes with police forces, despite calls by multiple United Nations bodies.
What’s in the News — A weekly selection of topics, and perspectives on world issues from the programs team at the World Affairs Council.
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Originally published at www.worldaffairs.org.