Vatican Apologizes For Pope's Comments About Mexican Drug Violence

By McCarton Ackerman 02/25/15

The cool Pope waded into another controversy with some un-Pope-like remarks.

Pope Francis
God dammit, I did it again. Shuttstock

Pope Francis has found himself a source of controversy after the Vatican apologized on his behalf for comments he made regarding Mexico’s ongoing struggle with drug violence.

Francis sent an email last weekend to Argentine friend and lawmaker Gustavo Vera, who then published the note on the website of his Alameda foundation. Referring to his native Argentina and the goal of combating the drug trade, the Pope wrote that “hopefully we are in time to avoid Mexicanization.”

The Mexican government formally complained about the remark, insisting that they are doing everything in their power to battle drug cartels and that “stigmatizing Mexico” served no purpose.

“The pope intended only to emphasize the seriousness of the phenomenon of the drug trafficking that afflicts Mexico and other countries in Latin America,” said Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi. "It is precisely this importance that has made the fight against drug trafficking a priority for the government."

Francis has found himself in hot water for several comments he’s made over the last year, including that someone who insults his mother would receive “a punch” in return and that Catholics don’t need to breed “like rabbits.”

Some of Mexico’s religious leaders have actually played a direct role in trying to stamp out violence between drug gangs and local police, speaking out against the corruption and encouraging others to fight back. One priest in the Michoacan province has even donned a bulletproof vest as part of his daily wardrobe.

"I am calling on the people to rise up with what dignity, shame and balls they have left," said Apatzingán priest Father Gregorio López to The Guardian. "If the horse doesn't want to move, you have to use your spurs."

Bishop Miguel Patino Velazquez said that he sided with the vigilantes and believes the government is just as guilty because the “[cartel] leaders are fully identified and yet no one stops them.”

Local parish priest Andres Larios Chavez believes that “the government and the Templars are the same thing. The campaigns of the state officials are financed by them. Instead of disarming the criminal organization, it went into towns that finally had some peace and tried to disarm the self-defense groups.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.