By Mercedes De La Torre
ROME, DEC. 13, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop primate of Mexico City, was with Benedict XVI on Monday for a special Mass in the Vatican on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The cardinal spoke with ZENIT shortly before the concelebration, which also commemorated the bicentennial of the independence of a number of Latin American countries.
Cardinal Rivera explained the importance of the Virgin of Guadalupe for Mexico. “Our Lady of Guadalupe is part of the birth of our country because we were a divided people and Our Lady of Guadalupe came and gathered and united us, leading to the birth of the Mexican people.”
It was not just one isolated act, he continued, she has accompanied us through our independence and the revolutionary period and in the most important moments of the Church in Mexico. For this reason she has become for us our Mother, our Queen, our guide.
“The Pope and the universal Church celebrate in a special way the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, this year by having the Mass in Spanish for all Latin America. In this way the particular attention that the Holy See has for the American continent is confirmed,” he reflected.
Mexico’s ambassador to the Holy See, Héctor Federico Ling Altamirano, also told ZENIT how important Our Lady of Guadalupe is for Mexico. “For practicing Catholics it is the climax of their religiosity, but this is not only the case for believers, but for all Mexicans, even non-Catholics, who respect and have a special veneration and affection for the Virgin of Guadalupe. She is truly a national symbol that transcends religion, sociology and anthropology, a very interesting phenomenon.”
“This situation has a very profound and beautiful meaning, whose depth needs to be examined,” he suggested. “It is more than syncretism between pagan and Christian practices, but is a true synthesis, an inculturation.”