Mar 22, 2012

Pope Benedict's Visit: Pope's visit to Mexico refocuses attention on narco-church relations

The Guardian: "Father Erasmo Dorantes doesn't like talking about the new modernist church with a 20-metre high metal cross within his parish in a working-class barrio of the central Mexican city of Pachuca.

"All I do is say mass there every Sunday," he says. "What's done is done and I don't have relations with those people."

Those people are the Zetas drug cartel, or more specifically the group's leader, Heriberto Lazcano. Photographs of a plaque thanking the kingpin for building the church caused a scandal when they were published in a national newspaper in October 2010.

The scandal has faded but the plaque remains – an uncomfortable reminder of the influence of the drugs culture in the Mexican Catholic church that Pope Benedict XVI called on the country's bishops to eradicate shortly after he was elected in 2005. As they prepare for his first visit to Mexico, beginning on Friday, the bishops are keen to play down the issue." read more

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