Category Archives: Religion

Foundation stone laid for Mexico City Jewish Center

JTA – Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera laid the foundation stone of a Jewish community center in the  Cuauhtemoc borough estimated to cost nearly $5.3 million. “The Jewish community is showing a substantial, permanent impulse, honoring ancestral values ​​of their people, but living with this dialectic of Mexico, showing affection to the city and to all who live here,” he said.

Lost grave of one of first Catholic priests in Mexico found

Atlas Obscura – Miguel de Palomares was one of the first Catholic priests to come to Mexico in the beginning of the 16th century. Within three years of taking over Mexico City, the Spanish had built the country’s first Catholic cathedral on the site of an Aztec temple. When de Palomeres died, in 1542, that’s where he was buried, underneath a slab of heavy stone. Recently, when a construction crew was digging holes for lamp posts, they came upon that slab.

Pope ends Mexico tour praying for migrants at border

Pope says goodbyeWashington Post – Overlooking the flood lights and barbed wire that line the U.S. border, Pope Francis on Wednesday quietly prayed for the migrants who have died during their journeys to America and later said a “humanitarian crisis” was prompting people worldwide to leave for other lands.

5 memorable scenes from Pope’s visit to Mexico

NPR – In the run-up to his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis promised a clear moral message. He wasn’t coming to gloss over the current ills of corruption and drug violence facing the country. And he didn’t disappoint. Here are five memorable scenes in the pontiff’s five-city tour, and some excerpts from his remarks.

The Catholic Church and the irresistible power of Mexico’s narco culture

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Zamora, Mexico. (Enrique López-Tamayo Biosca / Flickr)
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Zamora, Mexico. (Enrique López-Tamayo Biosca / Flickr)

By Richard Marosi and Marisa Gerber / Los Angeles Times

Growing up Catholic in Michoacan state, Alberto Cornejo always marveled at the beauty of the Gothic cathedral in his hometown of Zamora. He watched as workers installed spires, repaired the aging pillars and kept the floors polished.

The constant care and remodeling cost a lot of money and not all of it, he’s convinced, came from legitimate sources. “Narcos have looked out for our pueblos and our churches,” said Cornejo, a 48-year-old cellphone salesman. “It shouldn’t be, but it’s the reality.”

That belief, true or not, is widespread in parishes large and small across the country. Confronted with the expansion of organized crime groups, Catholic Church leaders have faced tough choices and more than a few have given in to traffickers, either cowed or complicit in taking tainted money.

Pope Francis, who travels today (Tuesday) to the violent state of Michoacan, has during his Mexican trip made his feelings clear, most specifically on Saturday during a speech in front of top church bishops, in which he called on clergy to act courageously against an “insidious threat.”

“I urge you not to underestimate the moral and antisocial challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as for the church,” he said.

The pope’s challenge – an upbraiding of an institution rarely criticized – was hailed for recognizing the widespread perception in Mexico that the church has often failed to protect society and its own priests from drug violence.

In Poor, Violent Enclave of ‘Saint Death,’ Pope Slams Mexico’s Rich

The pope is continuing with his determination to take government, business and religious leaders to task for their failure to work for the disadvantaged.
The pope is continuing with his determination to take government, business and religious leaders to task for their failure to work for the disadvantaged.


Celebrating Mass for more than 300,000 people in one of Mexico’s poorest and most dangerous cities Sunday, Pope Francis took a swipe at the country’s rich and corrupt elite.

Decrying “a society of the few and for the few,” he denounced deep inequality and the vanity and pride of those who consider themselves a cut above the rest.

“That wealth which tastes of pain, bitterness and suffering — this is the bread that a corrupt family or society gives its own children,” the pope said at the Mass in the city of Ecatepec.

Ecatepec is home to a giant statue of “Santa Muerte,” or Saint Death, a cult figure followed by millions across the Americas. The saint is often depicted as a skeletal “grim reaper” draped in white satin robes, beaded necklaces and carrying a scythe, and it is believed to grant requests without judging people.

Francis urged his listeners to struggle to make Mexico “a land of opportunities where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream” and where drug traffickers, whom he called “dealers of death,” would not ensnare their children.

Pope Francis’ visit to Mexico highlights the church’s drug war woes

“The hierarchy of the Church in Mexico has been timid when it comes to narco traffickers but that could change.”
“The hierarchy of the Church in Mexico has been timid when it comes to narco traffickers but that could change.”

By Ioan Grillo / Time

The Catholic Church has been criticized for doing too little to fight murderous cartels in Mexico. Will Pope Francis change that?

After a drug cartel left severed heads in town plazas and discos, the Catholic priest Gregorio Lopez realized that he could no longer be silent. From the pulpit in his native state of Michoacan, he condemned the bloodshed and urged his flock to stand up to the gunmen. Lopez, who is known as “Father Goyo,” earned a series of death threats for his courage, and he took to giving mass in a bulletproof jacket.

“I saw how they were killing my friends, my brothers, my sheep, and as the pastor I have the obligation to be speaking out,” Lopez said.

Lopez has since taken a sabbatical from giving mass but continues to serve in the Church.

The drug war has been a troubling challenge for the Church in Mexico, where 82 percent of people profess to be Catholic. Cartel gunmen have beaten and murdered clerics, such as in 2014 when assassins killed a priest from Uganda in Guerrero state and left his corpse in a mass grave. At the same time, drug traffickers have built chapels and given donations to churches, known here as “narco alms.”

Pope Francis is shining a new light on this problem in his first official visit to Mexico, beginning tomorrow, Feb. 12, in which he will travel to some of the country’s most troubled areas, including Michoacan and Ciudad Juarez.

A snapshot of Catholics in Mexico

Pew Research -When Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, arrives in Mexico this week, he will be visiting a country that is home to not only the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world, but one of the biggest Catholic populations, too. Indeed, Mexico has the globe’s second-largest number of Catholics, and a larger majority of Mexicans have remained tied to their Catholic faith compared with people in many other Latin American countries.

5 things to know about Pope’s visit to Mexico

AP – History’s first Latin American pope travels to Mexico on Friday for a weeklong tour of some of the most violent, poverty-stricken and peripheral places in the Americas. He’ll be bringing a message of hope and solidarity to victims of drug violence, trafficking and discrimination — a message the Vatican hopes will also resonate north of the border.