Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of the Church’s responsibility in helping Mexico’s young people stay out of deadly drug cartels.
The Pope travelled to Mexico today for the first leg of a visit to Latin America. Speaking to reporters aboard the papal plane, he blamed part of the country's notorious drug problem on the “worship of money which enslaves men”.
Around 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug wars in the last five years, with the scale and brutality of the violence casting a shadow of fear over many communities.
The Pope warned that the young in particular were at risk of joining the drug gangs.
“We must do everything possible to fight this evil which destroys our young. We must unmask this evil, these false promises and lies,” the Pope was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
"Our duty, our great responsibility, is to educate consciences, to teach our young moral responsibility" and turn them away from "the worship of money which enslaves men.
"I share Mexicans' joy and hope but also their anguish and grief."
The Pope is to meet President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa on Saturday, before presiding at Mass in the Parque Bicentenario on Sunday. On Monday, the Pope will travel to Cuba, where he will spend two days.
He told reporters that it was evident that Marxist ideology “no longer corresponds to reality” in the country and that “new models” needed to be found.
The Church, he added, wants to “help in the spirit of dialogue to avoid trauma and to help bring about a just and fraternal society, as we want in the whole world".
“We want to collaborate in this sense, and it’s obvious that the Church is always on the side of freedom, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion.”
Church must expose ‘lies’ fuelling Mexico’s drug violence, says Pope
Published 23 March 2012