Speaking under tight security in the birthplace of Mexico's drug war Tuesday, Pope Francis urged a sea of young people to choose Christ over the lure of gang life, warning that "Jesus would never ask us to be assassins."
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon launched the country's current war against organized crime by sending troops to his home state Michoacan in December 2006. And it has remained rife with violence, according to Vice News.
At a stadium rally in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan on Tuesday, Reuters reports that Pope Francis had been under tight security due to scattered outburst of violence in recent months. More than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico's drug war over the last decade as rival gangs fight over territory and smuggling routes to the United States, according to the report. more >>
While making his official trip to Mexico, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Federico Gómez children hospital.
One of them, bald from her battle with a serious illness, exchanged pleasant words with the head of the Roman Catholic Church before giving all in the audience a beautifully sad rendition of "Ave Maria."
Identified by the National Catholic Reporter and others as Alexia Garduno Aladro, the girl brought many in the room to tears with her pitch perfect singing. more >>
The Vatican responded to recent criticism by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump aimed at Pope Francis for visiting the Mexican border, by stating that the pontiff stands up for migration issues.
"The pope always talks about migration problems all around the world, of the duties we have to solve these problems in a humane manner, of hosting those who come from other countries in search of a life of dignity and peace," Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said, according to Fox News.
Trump, who has spoken a number of times about his plans to deport illegal immigrants from America and secure the country's borders, claimed last week that Francis does not understand "the danger of the open border we have with Mexico." more >>
A number of Roman Catholic bishops in Latin America, where the dangerous Zika virus is spreading, have said that despite health warnings, Catholics should refuse to use contraceptives.
"Contraceptives are not a solution," said Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, an auxiliary bishop in Brazil, according to Gospel Herald. "There is not a single change in the Church's position."
Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control have said that contraceptives need to be used by infected patients in order to prevent the spread of Zika, which might be linked to hundreds of babies being born with deformed brains in Brazil and neighboring countries. more >>
During his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis condemned the country's drug trade and government corruption that has led to hundreds of thousands of murders and missing persons cases.
The pope made his comments on Saturday while speaking to the country's bishops at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, urging religious leaders to take a more pro-active stance in fighting the drug trade and warning of "the temptation of aloofness and clericalism."
The country's Catholic Church has also received criticism in the past for turning a blind eye to government corruption and drug-related violence. more >>
A bishop in the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo has said that the historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the first one between the heads of the two churches following their split over a millennium ago, provides comfort and hope to suffering Christians.
"The meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill is perceived by Christians as the fruit of the cross they are experiencing. The suffering of all Christians in the Middle East bears the fruit of unity. This for us is a great consolation and helps us to move forward, even if we still have to suffer," said Bishop Georges Abou Khazen OFM, Apostolic Vicar of Aleppo for the Catholics of the Latin rite, according to Fides News Agency.
The meeting took place on Friday in Cuba, and was the first of its kind since the Russian Orthodox Church, the largest of the Eastern Christianity branches, split from the Roman Catholic Church over 1,000 years ago. more >>