Catholic World News

Decrying injustice, Pope concludes journey to Mexico

February 18, 2016

On February 17, his final day in Mexico, Pope Francis flew from Mexico City to Ciudad Juárez, the city of 1.3 million across the US-Mexican border from El Paso, Texas.

Visiting a penitentiary, the Pope told prisoners that “there is no place beyond the reach of his mercy, no space or person it cannot touch.”

“Mercy reminds us that reintegration does not begin here within these walls; rather it begins before, it begins ‘outside,’ in the streets of the city,” he said. “It is within a society’s capacity to include the poor, infirm and imprisoned, that we see its ability to heal their wounds and make them builders of a peaceful coexistence. Social reintegration begins by making sure that all of our children go to school and that their families obtain dignified work by creating public spaces for leisure and recreation, and by fostering civic participation, health services and access to basic services, to name just a few possible measures.”

Pope Francis then traveled to the Colegio de Bachilleres of the State of Chihuahua, where he met with business and labor leaders and lamented the imposition of “the paradigm of economic utility as the starting point for personal relationships.”

He continued:

What kind of Mexico do you want to leave your children? Do you want to leave them the memory of exploitation, of insufficient pay, of workplace harassment? Or do you want to leave them a culture which recalls dignified work, a proper roof, and land to be worked? What type of culture do we want for those who will come after us? …

Profit and capital are not a good over and above the human person; they are at the service of the common good. When the common good is used only in the service of profit and capital, the only thing gained is known as exclusion.

Pope Francis then traveled to the Ciudad Juárez fairgrounds, where he celebrated a Mass that was simulcast across the border in El Paso’s Sun Bowl.

Recalling Jonah’s preaching of repentance to Nineveh, the Pope preached:

We cannot deny the humanitarian crisis which in recent years has meant migration for thousands of people, whether by train or highway or on foot, crossing hundreds of kilometers through mountains, deserts and inhospitable zones. The human tragedy that is forced migration is a global phenomenon today. This crisis which can be measured in numbers and statistics, we want instead to measure with names, stories, families. They are the brothers and sisters of those expelled by poverty and violence, by drug trafficking and criminal organizations.

Being faced with so many legal vacuums, they get caught up in a web that ensnares and always destroys the poorest. Not only do they suffer poverty but they must also endure these forms of violence. Injustice is radicalized in the young; they are “cannon fodder,” persecuted and threatened when they try to flee the spiral of violence and the hell of drugs, not to mention the tragic predicament of the many women whose lives have been unjustly taken.

Let us together ask our God for the gift of conversion, the gift of tears, let us ask him to give us open hearts like the Ninevites, open to his call heard in the suffering faces of countless men and women. No more death! No more exploitation! There is still time to change, there is still a way out and a chance, time to implore the mercy of God.

Before departing for Rome, the Pope thanked those who helped make his journey possible.

“The night can seem vast and very dark, but in these days I have been able to observe that in this people there are many lights who proclaim hope; I have been able to see in many of their testimonies, in many of their faces, the presence of God who carries on walking in this land, guiding you, sustaining hope; many men and women, with their everyday efforts, make it possible for this Mexican society not to be left in darkness,” he said.

“May Mary, Mother of Guadalupe, continue to visit you, continue to walk on your lands, helping you to be missionaries and witnesses of mercy and reconciliation.”

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