Photo by Alan Holdren, CNA
Of late, Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome, has been taking a beating in the American media, and from a certain presidential candidate, and even from his own flock. Why? He’s doing his job to remind all of us that as followers of Christ, we are to think through our actions and help those in need. (It is the question of who is really in need that we need to impress on His Holiness is really the problem. Terrorists are posing as refugees, for Heaven’s sake. That requires revisiting Aquinas for a defense refresher.)
We the faithful are also supposed to follow certain over-reaching Christian themes of honestly, integrity and doing right by others. Corruption, graft, and the facilitating of the drug trade are not generally considered to be acts of good Christians. Well, down in Mexico, where the people are for the most part Catholic in name, anyway, corruption is a way of life, and the drug trade is just a feature of the landscape.
Pope Francis noticed, and he is not afraid to tell the people there that they should consider changing their ways.
“Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privilege or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all, sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, the drug trade, the exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death,” the pope said in a speech to Pena Nieto, the government and foreign diplomats.
He said Mexico’s leaders have a “particular duty” to move past corruption and violence and work for the collective good.
Is anyone out there seriously going to counter the man on this, at least? One of the multitude of reasons that we north of the Rio Grande favor a great big wall with razor wire (alligators and rattlesnakes optional) is the very drug trade that the pontiff spoke against. And it wasn’t just the everyday people who were instructed to change. The bishops got it, too.
The pope also exhorted Mexico’s bishops to take a more active stand against the drug trade, which he said “devours like a metastasis.”
He told them to make it clear to drug dealers that they could not consider themselves good Catholics if their hands were “drenched in blood, but pockets filled with sordid money and their consciences deadened.”
Drug-trafficking gangs have infiltrated police forces across the country and more than 100,000 people have been killed in drug violence over the last decade. Some 26,000 are missing.
(More on this from FoxNews Latino)
Just like popes of the past have told members of the Mafia. There is a reason the mob in New York are not buried on sacred ground, but have their own cemetery. They are not Catholics in good standing. Francis is telling the people of the Mexican drug trade they are in the same spot. There are many regular people who applaud the Pope’s message to the government, and the drug dealers. They are tired of the violence just as much as those of us who watch it from afar and fear it spilling over the border.
How Mexico came to be such a disaster of corruption and drugs goes back centuries, and was helped along by a hard-line socialist regime from 1917-1970 that outlawed the Church. The systemic graft has been a part of life there for so long, it is now part of the culture. Pope Francis challenges Mexico to change that.
In the case of Mexico, the speeches and homilies at Mass need no translation. Spanish is his native language.