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The Pope, Mexico, and Catholicism.



     Every morning at 5 a.m. I watch Televisa for news from Mexico. I assumed that today it would be devoted mostly to the Pope's visit. I was shocked that the news said not one word about Mexico; it was devoted to petty subjects from other Latin American countries, such as illegal Bolivian immigrants in Argentina. French TV gave the explanation: there was a ruthless fight between Televisa and rival TV Azteca for coverage of the Pope's visit. Apparently the latter won; capitalism at work. Then French TV showed the crowd estimated at 1 million (!) crowding in and around the racing track for a papal mass. Because of the smog it was hard to see; people had handkerchiefs over their noses. Raw capitalism has produced ugly, crime- and smog-ridden cities like Mexico City and Sao Paulo. The Pope made clear the limits on ecumenism; the urged the crowd to combat Protestand inroads.
     French TV showed him visiting the sick, poor, and old in a Mexican hospital; he does this on each of his papal visits. He came across as a charismatic, compassionate figure, whatever his intellectual blinkers. People were deeply touched.
     Meanwhile in the United States Monica Lewinsky was prancing around with a baseball cap PULLED over her face. It bore the initials of a movie company I had never heard of. Being a walking billboard was remunerative, thanks to presidential politics. Is nothing sacred? Ask the Pope.

Ronald Hilton - 01/25/99


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