MEXICO CITY, Feb. 13 (UPI) — Pope Francis addressed several Mexican politicians to begin his first full day in Mexico and urged the country to steer itself away from corrupt practices.
The pope was joined by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and members of his cabinet as he spoke about focusing the country’s efforts on promoting “the common good”.
“Each time we seek the path of privileges or benefits for a few, to the detriment of the good of all the life of the Society becomes a fertile soil for corruption, drug trade, exclusion of different cultures, violence and also human trafficking, kidnapping and death, bringing suffering and slowing down development,” the pope said.
Pena Nieto did not reference the pope’s comments when he acknowledged the crowd, but he did welcome the pontiff to the country and gave him a tour of the National Palace.
Some 65,000 tickets granting entry into Zocalo square outside the palace were handed out to churches and other organizations. Police also allowed others without tickets to enter the area to see the pope as he delivered drive-by blessings from his vehicle.
After his address Pope Francis was scheduled to deliver a mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 5 p.m.
During the mass he will bless a crown that sits atop the basilica’s altar as a symbol of veneration.
Thousands waited outside the basilica since 5 a.m. Saturday morning in hopes of getting a chance to see the pope as he passes by.