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Vatican spokesman explains why Pope will visit Mexico

Catholic World News - January 09, 2012

In his weekly opinion column, the director of the Vatican press office explained why Pope Benedict will travel to Mexico and Cuba in March.

“There’s not much need to call attention to the Cuban visit, which coincides with the jubilee of Our Lady of Cobre [the nation’s patroness] and comes during a time of unique historical and political changes for the Caribbean island,” said Father Federico Lombardi.

Father Lombardi noted that Pope Benedict spoke recently of Latin America’s “new, emerging central role in the world” and of the continental mission launched by Latin America’s bishops. In choosing to visit Mexico, “he has now chosen to go to one of the most populous Hispanic countries.”

The Pontiff will travel to León, the nation’s sixth-largest city and the geographic center of the nation, because Blessed John Paul did not visit it. “Pope Benedict knew he had to go to Mexico, and he wanted to choose a place where his predecessor hadn’t been able to go.”

“Who isn’t touched by the Mexicans’ affection for the Pope, by their enthusiasm when they come to see him in Rome?” Father Lombardi added. “Who doesn’t remember the triumphal welcome that they gave John Paul II during each of the five trips he made to Mexico in his lifetime; and today, when so many of them travel to the pilgrim shrine established in his memory?

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