Pope Arrives in Mexico, Decries Drug Violence
Tens of thousands greet Benedict upon arrival
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2012 5:20 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful from his popemobile upon his arrival in Leon, Mexico, Friday.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI wasted no time in Mexico, the world's second-most populous Catholic country, immediately attacking the violent drug war and gang violence that has killed 50,000 people there, reports the Guardian. Benedict arrived yesterday in Leon, in central Mexico, where tens of thousands of people, 20 deep in places, lined the 22-mile route from the airport. The pope said he was especially praying for those who have suffered "all forms of violence," calling the drug cartels "destructive evil."

"It is the responsibility of the Church to educate consciences, to teach moral responsibility and to unmask the evil, to unmask this idolatry of money which enslaves man, to unmask the false promises, the lies, the fraud that is behind drugs," the pope said. It is Benedict's first visit to Mexico and to Spanish-speaking Latin America, and even some drug cartels have promised there will be no violence while he is in the country. The pope visits Mexico for three days before heading to Cuba.