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Pope Francis' Pick for Cardinal Sends Strong Message About Mexico Cartel Violence

David Agren - Fox News Latino
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February 13, 2015
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Cardinal-designate Alberto Suarez Inda of Morelia, Mexico lives in a place that has been wracked by drug cartel violence. (David Agren)

MORELIA, Mexico –  Archbishop Alberto Suárez Inda of Morelia – capital of the oft-conflictive state of Michoacán – wanted to retire one year ago. He submitted his resignation Jan. 30, 2014, upon turning 75, as per church policy. Pope Francis had other ideas, however, and promoted him to cardinal instead.

“A priest in Morelia called me … ‘I’m listening to Vatican Radio. The pope just announced your name,’ Suárez told Fox News Latino in an interview. “I told him, ‘It’s not possible. I don’t believe it.’ I must be dreaming. The [papal] nuncio called me 10 minutes later.”

Suarez’s elevation surprised many in Mexico, where the country’s three cardinals traditionally come from the country’s three largest cities – Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey – not strife-stricken states such as Michoacán. But it showed Pope Francis’ preference for appointing prelates from peripheral places as he overhauls the Catholic Church and attempts to revive its relevance in heavily Catholic Latin America. He also elevated bishops in distant dioceses such as David in Panama and Tucumán in Argentina.

Suárez could only speculate on why he was elevated to cardinal – he’ll be installed on Saturday – but suggested the struggles in Michoacán with outward migration (more than 1 million Michoacanos have moved to the United States) and ongoing issues with insecurity were top priorities for Pope Francis.

Read the rest at Fox News Latino

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