VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 13, 2005 ( Benedict XVI expressed his pastoral concern about employment, immigration and integral development in Mexico, as he continued his meetings with the country's bishops who are visiting Rome.

Mexico's widespread poverty was one of the topics the Pope addressed in the conversations he had in private with each of the bishops, as several of them told ZENIT.

Archbishop Francisco Robles Ortega of Monterrey said that "the Holy Father was interested in the topic of the current situation in the archdiocese, the state of the Christian faith, the topic of poverty in a large city, which on one hand has great opportunities of employment and work but at the same time has areas and belts of great poverty."

For his part, Bishop José Luis Dibildox of Tampico emphasized that the Pope asked me "to speak a bit about my diocese, the people who live there, the situation of the poor, if people have work; he is concerned about the fact that people emigrate, that young people go to the United States, that there is a lack of sources of work."

Promoting employment

Later, the bishop of Tampico, an important port for the Gulf of Mexico, said, "The Holy Father asked me about the fishermen, and if there is no work for them.

"The Pope asked that we promote businessmen more so that they will generate sources of employment and people will have a way of living; emigration brings loss of control in families; he was especially interested in strengthening the family."

Bishop Raúl Vera López of Saltillo said that as soon as Benedict XVI saw a map of the Mexican diocese, the Pope asked "if the people I look after are poor, to tell him about the situation of workers and peasants of the desert, who must sell their work efforts for low salaries."

These topics were also discussed the previous week in conversations with the first group of Mexican bishops, from the northwest region, on their five-yearly visit to Rome.