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Pope's Focus on Violence and Poor Likely to Make for 'Uncomfortable' Mexico Visit

David Agren - The Guardian
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December 12, 2015

A woman poses with a Pope Francis cardboard cut-out placed by the local government in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez)

Update: Vatican Releases Itinerary for Papal Visit to Mexico (Catholic News Service)

Father Andrés Larios blessed the vigilantes as they took up arms to run off a marauding drug cartel in Mexico’s Michaocán state. Months later, he watched in dismay as the federal government jailed the militiamen and pinned police badges on a new rural security force which included gunmen accused of the same crimes they were supposed to stamp out.

Violence has somewhat diminished in Michaocán since then. But Larios, a parish priest in the rugged Tierra Caliente region, expresses hope a higher authority will soon intervene in the state: Pope Francis.

The pope plans to visit Mexico in early 2016 and is expected to travel to Michaocán – where outward migration, government neglect and drug trafficking have caused upheaval for years.

“The pope picked the state of Michoacán for this very issue of violence,” said Larios, speaking from the village of Coacomán, 600km (372 miles) west of Mexico City. “We’re expecting a hopeful message from him.”

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Mexico on 12 February for a visit that is likely to carry political and pastoral agendas and take him to states and cities afflicted with insecurity, inequality and predation on migrants transiting the country.

Church officials say details of Francis’s trip will be announced 12 December. But the visit is already expected to focus on Mexico’s peripheral places and poorest inhabitants.

Read the rest at The Guardian

Related: Pope Francis Will Venerate Mary at Mexico Shrine Next Year (Catholic News Service)

Related: Mexico's Migrants in Focus for Pope Francis's First Visit in February (Reuters)

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