Pope Arrives in Mexico, Lamenting Drug Violence

The New York Times, 3/23/12

Pope Benedict XVI landed here Friday, starting his first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America with a warm greeting from Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderón, and thousands of Roman Catholics from all over Mexico who waved flags, shouted and cheered at the mere sound of his approach.

Addressing a crowd that had waited for hours in the sun, the pope said he has come “as a pilgrim of faith, hope and love.” “With this brief visit,” he said, “I wish to greet all Mexicans and to include all the people of Latin America, represented here by many bishops.”

The pope is expected to speak at greater length during an outdoor Mass on Sunday in nearby Guanajuato, but even before he touched ground, he addressed a main issue on the minds of Mexican Catholics — drug violence — and he tackled the thorny topic of government in Cuba, where he will head Monday for the second and final leg of his six-day journey.

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