Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Mexican government blasts pope for ‘mexicanization’ comment

Jeon Han

By Maria Baluch

When Pope Francis assumed his position as pontiff in March 2013, he received many praises for his service and acts of compassion. He is widely remembered for embracing Vinicio Riva, a disfigured man who suffers from neurofibromatosis, inviting homeless men to a Mass and a meal at the Vatican for his birthday, visiting a Hindu priest in Sri Lanka, and many other humble, crowd-pleasing deeds, as reported by CNN.

But now a remark he made has offended many people. The former Argentine cardinal, born as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, used the term “mexicanization” in an email to his friend Gustavo Vera, in which he showed grief for the increasing drug trafficking in Argentina, according to Fortune.

Francis wrote, “Hopefully, we are still in time to avoid the mexicanization. I was talking to some Mexican bishops and it’s a terrible situation.”

Vera published the email on his organization’s website, the Alameda Foundation, resulting in Mexico accusing the pope of unnecessarily “stigmatizing Mexico” despite the country’s efforts to battle drug cartels.

The Mexican government is concerned over this statement and, according to The Washington Times, Chief Diplomat of Mexico Jose Antonio Meade said he intends to send a note of protest to the pope for using the term “mexicanization.”

“We would like to express our sadness and concern about the statements made regarding a private letter from Pope Francis,” said Meade, according to The Washington Times.

In hopes of defusing diplomatic dispute with Mexico, the Vatican’s secretary of state in response said, “The pope did not in any way intend to offend the Mexican population, for whom he holds special affection, nor to underestimate the commitment of the Mexican government in its fight against narco-trafficking,” as reported by The Washington Post.

In an official note to the Ambassador of Mexico, the Vatican stated that the choice of words used by the pope were “taken from an informal and private email,” which merely repeated a phrase that Vera himself had used as lawmaker battling Argentina’s own drug trade, according to New York Post.

The Vatican spokesperson Reverend Federico Lombardi said that the pope’s intention was only to emphasize the importance of the “phenomenon of the drug trafficking” that plagues Mexico and other Latin American countries, according to The New York Post.

It is not the first time the pope’s words have drawn criticism from his usual supporters. In response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January, pope Francis said that if someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch.” according to The Washington Post. After which, Lombardi had to explain he was not justifying violence by his comment.

In another instance, the pope joked that Catholics do not need to breed “like rabbits,” contradictory to his previous statements in which he praised big families as a gift from God to a large crowd in the Philippines, the largest Catholic nation in Asia, according to USA Today.

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Mexican government blasts pope for ‘mexicanization’ comment