At big papal Mass in Mexico, bishop denounces drug wars
25 Mar 2012
LEON, Mexico: March 25, 2012. (Reuters) - Pope Benedict drew the largest crowd of his Latin American trip on Sunday, celebrating a huge open-air Mass where a local bishop denounced the "fear, helplessness and pain" caused by Mexico's murderous drug w
On his last day in Mexico, the pope said Mass for a joyous crowd that organizers estimated at 300,000 people at a sprawling park on the outskirts of the central city of Leon.
Long lines of people, many praying, singing and carrying pictures of the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron, made their way into the Mass site over a period of hours.
Some camped out for more than a day to get a good spot for the highlight of Benedict's three days in the world's second-most populous Roman Catholic country.
As the pope toured the crowd in a "popemobile," he wore a black-and-white sombrero, to the delight of the crowd.
The archbishop of Leon, Jose Martin Rabago, set the tone by spelling out the sufferings of a country where clashes between drug cartels and the state have claimed more than 50,000 lives over the past five years.
"We have been living through events of violence and death that have generated a painful sensation of fear, helplessness and grief," Rabago said in his welcome address.
The archbishop condemned the "perverse roots" of Mexico's problems, which he listed as poverty, lack of opportunity, impunity, injustice and the belief of some that the aim of life was to accumulate possessions and power.