Guadalupe Shows Dignity of Indians and Women, Says Cardinal

Archbishop of Mexico City Highlights Importance of Marian Appearance

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MEXICO CITY, JULY 9, 2002 ( The primate of Mexico summed up the 1531 appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe like this: An Indian was chosen to be the special envoy of the Mother of God.

With that phrase, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, presiding over Sunday’s Mass celebrated in the metropolitan cathedral, addressed the participants of the National Congress on Mariology. The congress is being held in the Archdiocese of Mexico in preparation for the canonization of Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin.

Jesus’ preference for the «little ones» was confirmed in the Guadalupe event, the cardinal explained. Many then, as well as now, regarded the choice as «scandalous,» but the Virgin was showing that Indians are not slaves but her sons, the archbishop of Mexico added.

«This fact has profound meaning,» he said. «It is the recognition of Juan Diego’s dignity. The Indian, whom many still denied the rank of person, was chosen to be the personal emissary of the Mother of God.»

From then on, Juan Diego and all the indigenous population «are called to be the chosen people, bearers of a profound religiosity that will make Latin America the continent of hope,» the archbishop primate of Mexico emphasized.

This reality still generates resistance, the cardinal pointed out. Despite the change in laws, he said, «Indians continue to be marginalized in their political and economic rights, serving as pretext to raise other flags that are not for their progress and development.»

The dignity of Indian women is also upheld by the Guadalupe event. The Virgin of Tepeyac did not appear with a white face, but with mestizo features, Cardinal Rivera Carrera stated.

«Mary, appearing as a maiden and mother, reaffirmed the dignity of the Indian woman, humiliated and oppressed,» he said. «In Mary, maternity acquires a sublime dignity.»

Hence, the Virgin of Guadalupe brings a message that is very timely, when for other reasons and in other ways, there is an attempt to «degrade» woman and «reduce her to an object of pleasure and to one more element of the great market,» Cardinal Rivera lamented.

In statements to the press at the end of the Mass, the archbishop of Mexico referred to the preparation for Juan Diego’s canonization by John Paul II on July 31.

The celebration is open to all, the cardinal confirmed. It is estimated that some 8,000 people will be able to attend the ceremony in the basilica, and 12,000 from the square.

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