Chris Cauhapé |Staff Writer|
The first Latin-American born Pope made his first trip to the northernmost country of Latin America, Mexico.
In doing so, the pontiff addressed many issues pertinent to the Church and the country with the second highest number of Roman Catholic residents.
On the flight from Rome to Mexico, a three-hour layover was made at Jose Marti Airport in Havana, Cuba.
There, the Pope met with Kiril, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church is second in Christendom to the Roman Church in number of adherents.
The two churches were one until the Great Schism (pronounced shism by the Jesuits) in the year 1054 A.D.
In question at the breakup was the legitimacy of the successors to Jesus as far as church leadership was concerned.
The issue that brought the two leaders together at the airport was the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa.
This was the first Orthodox Patriarch and Catholic Pope meeting in history.
At a meeting with members of the Mexican government, including Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Pope Francis stated, “Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes fertile soil for corruption, drug trade…kidnapping and death,” according to the Associated Press (AP).
Francis urged Catholic Bishops to help Mexicans to, “finally escape the raging waters that drown so many, either victims of the drug trade or those who stand before God with their hands drenched in blood, though with pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened.”
The Pope also warned bishops about the threat of “Santa Muerte” which is a cult in Mexico and the United States, that became popular in poor neighborhoods and among gangs, drug dealers and other criminals.
Pope Francis in the tradition of Jesus Christ visited a children’s cancer ward and a prison to bless the sick and those imprisoned.
He gave mass in five cities while in Mexico.
In addition to politicians and the clergymen, the pontiff was equally terse in a speech to Businessmen and workers in Ciudad Juarez asking about exploited workers, “What air will they breathe? An air tainted by corruption, violence, insecurity and suspicion, or on the contrary an air capable of generating alternatives, renewal and change,” according to the Associated Press.
The Pope denounced the exploitation of indigenous peoples in San Cristobal de las Casas where his mass included five native languages.
At the mass said in Ciudad Juarez within a half mile from American soil in El Paso, Texas, Pope Francis asked the governments of both the United States and Mexico to, “open their hearts if not their borders to the ‘human tragedy that is forced migration’.”
The Pope added, “they are the brothers and sisters, who are being expelled by poverty and violence, drug trafficking and organized crime,” according to Newsday.
The Pope left Mexico that evening and while in flight managed to take a swing at American presidential candidate Donald Trump when he said that building walls between neighboring countries is not a Christian thing to do.