News24

Pope sets off for Mexico, Cuba trip

2012-03-23 12:03

Rome - Pope Benedict XVI sets off on an arduous journey to Latin America on Friday where he will address key issues including the war on drugs in Mexico and the evolution of the communist regime in Cuba.

In his first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America, the pontiff, who turns 85 next month, will visit Silao, Leon and Guanajuato in Mexico from March 23 to 26, before heading on to Santiago de Cuba and Havana in Cuba for two days.

In Mexico, where the war on drug trafficking has killed 50 000 people in five years, Benedict XVI is expected to condemn the violence of cartels, some of whom claim to be Catholic but who are terrorising regions in the north.

In the overwhelmingly Catholic country - where 83% of the population has been baptised - the pope will tackle what the Church sees as threats to family values, as well as the rise of rival religious movements.

But he is also likely to face criticism over the clerical abuse scandal.

Strengthening relations

In particular, he will face questions over the Vatican's management of Mexico's most famous offender, Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, who before he died faced accusations that he had molested eight minors.

In Cuba, where the Catholic community only makes up around 10% of the populace, the pope will hope to strengthen relations with the communist regime.

He will have to tread carefully to avoid friction between the state and the Church, which plays a leading role in the island's social sector.

While Benedict XVI may address the issue of democracy, he will be careful to make sure his words cannot fuel dissidents, who have held a series of protests aimed at pressurising the pope into tackling the Cuba government on rights.

Comments
  • zaatheist - 2012-03-23 12:38

    Well if he is going to join the war on drugs he can start with the drug he peddles. This is the nice gold embroidered hat-wearing guy, who carries a diamond and ruby encrusted solid gold scepter, who would rather see increased venereal diseases, unwanted pregnancies, increased poverty, child malnutrition, child starvation, various sanitation diseases, etc. than see a parishioner use a condom.

      Heiku - 2012-03-23 14:42

      I bet if you write him an angry letter that will really show him

      Mathys Jakkie Theart - 2012-03-23 15:17

      how dare he try to force his views on those people. they have a right to sell their wares. drug peddlers are humans too.

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-03-23 16:42

      I hope somebody has got the guts to make a "citizens arrest" and put him on a flight to the ICC in the Haque, and have him charged with "crimes against humanity" If Charles Taylor is at the ICC for his crimes, than why not the pope? Fair is fair !!!!!!!!!

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