Updated 10:05 PM EST, Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Pope Francis’ Mexico Visit: Pontiff Plans to Confront Country's Violence & Corruption Issues

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Pope Francis will confront Mexico's issues of corruption and violence during his visit in the country this week.

According to LA Times, the pontiff wants to "live the faith" of the Catholic nation but will also address crimes, the drug war, corruption, human rights abuses, and economic collapse happening in there. This is despite the possibility that highlighting these issues will make the Mexican government uncomfortable.

"You are living your little piece of war," Pope Francis said last week in a video message via Mexico's semiofficial Notimex news agency, as quoted by LA Times. "The Mexico of violence, the Mexico of corruption, the Mexico of drug trafficking, the Mexico of cartels, is not the Mexico that our mother [the Virgin Mary] wants. I, of course, will not cover any of that up."

He continued, "To the contrary. I want to exhort you to fight every day against corruption, against trafficking, against war, disunity, organized crime."

More than 80 percent of Mexico's population is Catholic, the news outlet noted. Among the six places that Pope Francis will set foot in are Mexico City's Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe and Chiapas, the country's border with Guatemala. He will also say Mass in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state. The pontiff's trip will end in the northern border city of Juarez, which previously had the highest murder rate in Mexico and probably in the whole Latin American region.

The pope's Mass in the border city of Juarez on Feb. 17 is expected to be attended by 200,000 people on the Juarez side and others on the U.S. side, LA Times wrote. The stage where the Mass will take place is only around 80 yards from the border fence, and Pope Francis will reportedly ride his pope mobile alongside the barrier. Around 50,000 attendees will watch a live broadcast at El Paso's Sun Bowl Stadium.

The plan follows a tradition started by U.S. bishops of conducting Mass at the border fence to demonstrate unity and support for migrants, the news outlet added.

Pope Francis' visit to the state of Chiapas, which is the home of many indigenous communities, also targets the celebration of the region's "Indian church," a combination of Catholic and indigenous culture that was once scoffed upon by the Vatican, The Associated Press reported (via ABC News).

According to the Vatican, history's first Latin American pope will present a decree during his Feb. 15 visit authorizing the usage of indigenous languages, the news outlet added. The Mass in Chiapas will also feature readings and songs in three separate indigenous languages.

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