Pope Francis has kicked off his first full day in Mexico and began by urging authorities of their responsibility to ensure their people have basic ‘indispensable’ goods and urging them to realize their nation’s future lies in recognizing its greatest richness: its young people.
The Holy Father first was welcomed to the National Palace by the Mexican president and the first lady. After having a private courtesy visit and exchanging gifts, the Pope addressed Mexico’s authorities and diplomatic corps.
The first Pope from the Americas expressed his happiness to set foot on Mexican soil, which he noted, “holds a special place in the heart of the Americas.”
“Today I come as a missionary of mercy and of peace but also as a son who wishes to pay homage to his mother, the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, and place himself under her watchful care,” he said.
The Holy Father noted that he endeavors to be ‘a good son,’ and follow in the Blessed Mother’s footsteps in paying his respects to the ‘great country’ of Mexico, “which is so rich in culture, history, and diversity.”
Youth Offers Future
One of the nation’s greatest biographical resources is the ancestral wisdom shown by the nation’s multiculturalism, he noted, but, he continued, “I believe and I dare to say that Mexico’s principal richness today has a young face; yes, this richness is your young people.”
The Pontiff noted that just over half of the population is made up of youth, noting this makes it possible to contemplate and plan for a future, “for a tomorrow, which “offers hope and future prospects.
“A people with a youthful population is a people able to renew and transform itself; it is an invitation to look to the future with hope and, in turn, it challenges us in a positive way here and now.”
One’s Responsibility to Future Generations
“This reality inevitably leads us to think about one’s own responsibilities when it comes to constructing the kind of Mexico we want, the Mexico that we want to pass on to coming generations.”
The Pope stressed this hope-filled future requires men and women who are upright, honest, and capable of working for the common good, “that ‘common good’ which in this twenty-first century is not in such great demand.'”
Experience Teaches Us
“Experience teaches us that each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few to the detriment of the good of all,” the Pope lamented, “sooner or later the life of society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death.” This, he stressed, brings suffering and slows down development.
The identity of the Mexican people, he noted, “was forged by the wonderful witness of citizens who understood that, in order to overcome situations born of the obstinacy of individualism.”
“It was necessary,” Francis stressed, “to have agreement between the political, social and financial institutions, and of all men and women committed to the common good and the promotion of the dignity of the human person.”
Political, social, and cultural leaders, the Pope stressed, have the particular duty “to offer all citizens the opportunity to be worthy contributors of their own future, within their families and in all areas where human social interaction takes place.”
In this way, he noted, they help citizens have real access to ‘indispensable’ material and spiritual goods, including “adequate housing, dignified employment, food, true justice, effective security, a healthy and peaceful environment.”
“This is not just a question of laws which need to be updated and improved – something always necessary – but rather a need for urgent formation of the personal responsibility of each individual, with full respect for others as men and women jointly responsible in promoting the advancement of the nation,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded, entrusting himself to the gaze of Mary, the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, “so that by her intercession, the merciful Father may grant that these days and the future of this land be an opportunity for encounter, unity and peace.”