Pope takes swipe at Mexico's rich at Mass

  • 15/02/2016
Pope Francis has taken a swipe at Mexico's rich and corrupt elite while celebrating Mass in front of hundreds of thousands in one of the country's poorest and most dangerous cities.
Pope Francis has taken a swipe at Mexico's rich and corrupt elite while celebrating Mass in front of hundreds of thousands in one of the country's poorest and most dangerous cities.

Pope Francis has taken a swipe at Mexico's rich and corrupt elite while celebrating Mass in front of hundreds of thousands in one of the country's poorest and most dangerous cities.

Decrying "a society of the few and for the few", he denounced deep inequality and the vanity and pride of those who consider themselves a cut above the rest.

"That wealth which tastes of pain, bitterness and suffering. This is the bread that a corrupt family or society gives its own children," the Pope said at the Mass in the city of Ecatepec on Sunday.

Mexico is home to one of the world's richest men, billionaire Carlos Slim, and a wealthy political class stained by corruption even as much of the country is steeped in poverty and violence.

A gritty expanse of cinder block homes north of Mexico City, Ecatepec has seen a surge in crime in recent years as it became infested with warring drug cartels.

Fuelled by a weak economy and youth unemployment, gang violence has driven the city's murder rate to one of Mexico's highest.

It is notorious for the unsolved murders of scores of women, the bodies of many found abandoned in garbage dumps or tossed in a canal only kilometres from where Francis spoke on Sunday.

A sea of Roman Catholic faithful greeted the pope as he flew into Ecatepec aboard a white helicopter, many wearing T-shirts emblazoned with his image, chanting, cheering and waving flags.

Unlike his predecessor Pope Benedict, who visited Mexico's conservative heartland in 2012, Francis is stopping in some of the country's most troubled corners on his first trip as pontiff.

The Pope will end his trip in the notorious northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, where he will address the tide of illegal immigration into the United States, meet relatives of victims of violence, and visit a prison.

AAP