Pope on Mexican feast day sympathizes with migrant caravans

Dec 11, 2022, 9:39 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2022, 12:40 pm
Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican to preside over a mass in honor of our ...

Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican to preside over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

              Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican to preside over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican to preside over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Cardinal Marc Ouellet asperges incense on a picture of our lady of Guadalupe during a mass in her honor presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Cardinal Marc Ouellet asperges incense on the altar during a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe and presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Faithful attend a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Faithful attend a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Pope Francis, right, presides over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Faithful attend a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Pope Francis, right, presides over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Faithful in traditional dress snaps photographs of Pope Francis at the end of a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe he presided over in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
            
              Pope Francis arrives in St. Peter's Basilica at The Vatican to preside over a mass in honor of our lady of Guadalupe, Monday, Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis sympathized Monday with the caravans of Latin Americans “seeking freedom and well-being” in the U.S. as he celebrated a major feast day dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The first Latin American pope spoke off the cuff in his native Spanish to denounce the plight facing Latin Americans today and in the past.

The Argentine Jesuit was marking the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which falls each Dec. 12. To Catholic believers, the date is the anniversary of one of several apparitions of the Virgin Mary witnessed by an Indigenous Mexican man named Juan Diego in 1531. Every year, millions of pilgrims flock to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, which holds an image of the Virgin that is said to have miraculously imprinted itself on the man’s cloak.

In his homily, Francis said Mary appeared then “to accompany the American people in this difficult path of poverty, exploitation and socioeconomic and cultural colonialism.”

And he said she remains a mother figure to Latin Americans today.

“She’s there, in the middle of the caravans that, seeking freedom and well-being, head north,” he said, referring to the caravans of migrants seeking to cross into the United States.

Francis has made caring for migrants and refugees a hallmark of his papacy.

Francis also warned against any ideological exploitation of the image of the Guadalupe Virgin, whose mixed, mestiza complexion has long been held up by the Catholic Church as a positive model of the colonial-era encounter between Europe and the Americas.

Francis noted that church preparations are underway for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the original apparition, and he called for them to take place in the context of the true “spirit” of Guadalupe.

“I am concerned about ideological-cultural proposals from various places that want to appropriate the encounter of a people with their Mother, who want to desmestizaje and put make-up on the Mother,” he said.

Andrew Chestnut, chair of Catholic studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, said the comment was an apparent reference to the intensifying debate on the role of the Catholic Church in the Iberian conquest and colonization of the Americas.

“While long a symbol of Mexican mestizaje, the blending of Indigenous and Spanish cultures, the Virgin of Guadalupe has recently been targeted for desmestizaje, as the pope said, by both the left and right,” Chestnut said in an email.

He said some on the left view her as purely Indigenous, while some on the right object to her darkening skin tone in portraits over time “and prefer to view her as a lighter complected, European-style advocation of Mary.”

Francis begged for this polemic to not take away from the centrality of Guadalupe to the faithful of the Americas.

“Please let’s not allow the message to be distilled into mundane and ideological patterns,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Rescue workers try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building in Kahta, in Adiyaman provinc...
Associated Press

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria earthquake kills thousands

ADANA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday. ___ India and South Korea are among nations sending rescue personnel and supplies after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria. India said it would send 100 members of its Natural Disaster […]
21 hours ago
FILE - Logos the New York Stock Exchange adorn trading posts, on the floor, Wednesday, March 16, 20...
Associated Press

Google, Apple, Amazon give investors reason to fret

Wall Street had its eyes Friday on big tech after some of the biggest companies in the world posted lackluster quarterly financial performances.
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Numbers drawn for $747 million Powerball jackpot

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The numbers have been drawn for an estimated $747 million Powerball jackpot and players must now wait to learn whether there is a big winner. The numbers drawn late Monday night were 05, 11, 22, 23, 69 and the Powerball 07. No one has won the jackpot since Nov. 19, […]
21 hours ago
Spliff Star, left, and Busta Rhymes perform "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" at the 65th an...
Associated Press

Grammys Moments: A rap tribute for the ages, Beyoncé triumph

As he accepted an innovator's award named for him, Dr. Dre mused about what he had in common with many of the people he saw from the Grammy Awards stage.
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Feb. 1 The Washington Post on police reform The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in 2021 but stalled in the Senate, would not have prevented the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, who is being laid to rest Wednesday in Memphis. […]
21 hours ago
FILE - The sign for Joint Base Andrews is seen, Friday, March 26, 2021, at Andrews Air Force Base, ...
Associated Press

Intruder breaches base of Air Force One, shot fired

WASHINGTON (AP) — Another intruder has breached the home of Air Force One, one of the nation’s most sensitive military bases, and this time a resident opened fire on the trespasser, Joint Base Andrews said in a statement late Monday. During the incident, which occurred at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, “a man gained unauthorized access […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Pope on Mexican feast day sympathizes with migrant caravans