Pope Francis has announced that he will make his first official visit to Mexico as the Pontiff in February of 2016.
Vatican officials have confirmed that the pope will arrive in Mexico for his eight-day trip on February 12th. Pope Francis had hoped to be able to visit Mexico earlier this year prior to visiting the United States, but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts.
While in Mexico, the pope is expected to address issues such as poverty, organized crime, violence, and discrimination against migrants trying to find a better a better life.
Official details of the papal visit have not yet been released.
Archbishop Norberto Carrera of the Archdiocese of Mexico City; however, has confirmed that the pope will be meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto and will visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
It has also been rumored that the Pope is considering visiting sites along the Mexican border with the US to see where some migrants cross illegally into the United States.
Mexican political leaders have been enthusiastic about Pope Francis’ visit since church officials first announced the trip earlier last month. Many politicians have invited the Pope to visit specific states, and address the National Congress.
Church officials have said it is unlikely that the pope will address the Congress, and have denounced the enthusiasm and the “decadence of the political class” who only wish to capitalize on Pope Francis’ popularity among the more than 80% of Mexican citizens who are Roman Catholic.
In addition to his visit to Mexico, Pope Francis has also expressed his desire to visit Argentina, Uruguay and Chile during 2016. The last papal visit to Mexico was taken by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2012.
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