The Pope's visit not just to Mexico but most to the most traditionally and densely Catholic part of Mexico and one of the most conservative (in a kind of middle-class way) is something I was going to note in my blog awhile ago, but my life got in the way a little bit.
So the press paid a lot of attention to the political implications: was the Pope trying to boost the appeal of the PAN party, that kind of thing. President Felipe Calderón and former president Vicente Fox (both PAN) obviously turned up (PAN has pretty strong Catholic roots). The three current candidates for president also turned up, and so did Carlos Slim. Vendors sold Pope Benedict T-shirts, flags and rosaries. A little attention was paid to the fact that people outside the very densely Catholic part of Mexico didn't show all that much interest. And there was a puff of smoke over the fact that La Luz del Mundo had scheduled a giant conference on evangelization for the very same weekend in the very same town (Silao) as the pope's mass. La Luz people said their event was planned long in advance although some media reported that La Luz had done it on purpose to interfere. Harrumph. Luz has also been associated with the PRI party in that area. I would say that both Luz and the Catholic hierarchy under Benedict have some pretty shady history and have done some sleazy things, to put it mildly. Hoping for a hearing with the pope during his visit, a group of people reported to be victims of child abuse by Catholic priests in Mexico asked to meet with him and were ignored, for instance. Just today, there is a big story in the NY Times about ties between the Vatican, big banking and the media. Luz parishioners didn't seem to do anything like that over the weekend or ever, but it has has very peculiar rules regarding women, some of its leaders have been charged with sexual abuse and rape, and the Mexican government has considered it possibly susceptible to mass suicide. Just telling you.
Anyway, the Catholicism I will be talking about in my next post and maybe a few more existed and still exists in this area of Mexico.