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Vatican issues statement on Pope’s ‘Mexicanization’ comment

February 25, 2015

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Holy See Press Office, has confirmed that Pope Francis used the phrase “to avoid Mexicanization” in a recent private note.

The use of the term "Mexicanization," in reference to the disruption of law-enforcement activities by drug trafficking, had prompted protests from Mexico. The Vatican emphasized that in using the term the Pope was using informal language, and did not intend for the phrase to become public.

La Alameda, an Argentine NGO opposed to drug trafficking, published a note attributed to Pope Francis. Dated February 21, the Pontiff's message to a legislator said: “Hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization. I was talking to some Mexican bishops, and it is terrifying.” The Pope also requested prayers for his Lenten retreat.

The use of the phrase “to avoid Mexicanization” led to a protest by the Mexican foreign minister, and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, responded in a note on February 24, according to Father Lombardi.

Emphasizing that the papal communication was a “strictly private and informal” e-mail to “a friend,” Father Lombardi said that Cardinal Parolin noted that “the Pope absolutely did not intend to wound the feelings of the Mexican people” or to question the Mexican government’s commitment to fighting drug trafficking.

Father Lombardi added the friend to whom the Pope was responding used the phrase in his own communication and that the Pope, in conversations with bishops and on other occasions, has spoken of the need for broad cooperation and political dialogue to combat this evil.


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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Feb. 26, 2015 10:37 AM ET USA

    I am astonished that someone with such enormous responsibility can waste his time with Email. That's what he has a Secretary for.

  • Posted by: JimKcda - Feb. 25, 2015 7:04 PM ET USA

    There is no such thing as "private" or "off the record" anymore. And why did his "friend" release the private note. Perhaps he is now a "former friend."