In his first trip to Mexico, Pope Benedict XVI spoke out forcefully against the drug trade and related violence that have afflicted this country in recent years. Mexicans were anxious to know his views on this issue.
Responding to questions from reporters during his trip to Mexico, he replied that the Catholic Church has a great responsibility to address this issue, particularly in a nation in which 80% of the population is Catholic. "We must do everything possible against this evil that is destructive of humanity and of our youth," he said. "It is the Church's responsibility to educate consciences, to educate moral responsibility and expose this evil, expose this idolatry of money, which enslaves men..."
It is also crucial to "expose the false premises, the lies and the fraud that are behind drugs. We must see that man needs the infinite. If God is not present, the infinite creates its own paradises [which are] the appearance of infinities that can only be a lie." It is the Church's role to expose evil and make present "God's goodness, his truth, the true infinite for which we have such thirst..."
The Pope did not address specifics of economics, when he was asked about the persistence in Ibero-America of social and economic inequality, but spoke of the existence of a "certain schizophrenia in people, between public and private morality...we have to educate people to overcome that schizophrenia...which we try to do through the Social Doctrine of the Church."
The several trips to Mexico made by Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul II, are remembered with great fondness in Mexico, and Benedict was asked about them. "I feel my trip is a total continuity of Pope John Paul II's trips," he said on March 24. I remember his first trip to Mexico so well, which was truly historic. I also remember his trip to Cuba, and therefore I try to follow in his footsteps and continue what he began."
Today, on the last day of his visit before leaving for Cuba, more than 600,000 people attended mass at which the Pope officiated at the Bicentennial Park in Silao in the state of Guanajuato.