As Pope Benedict XVI prepared to leave Mexico and journey to Cuba, the director of the Holy See Press Office said the Pope had accomplished his goal of confirming the country in its Catholic faith.
The trip's fundamental objective “had been completed,” said Fr. Federico Lombardi, offering his evaluation of Pope Benedict's visit to Mexico. It was the Pope's first official visit to a Spanish-speaking Latin American country during his reign.
At a press conference in the city of León, the Jesuit priest and Vatican spokesman said the goal of the trip was to “have a personal encounter between the Holy Father and the Mexican people” – as occurred at Sunday's Mass, with over 600,000 worshipers in attendance.
Fr. Lombardi said the German Pope had “overcome” any distance between himself and the Mexican people, who greeted him as an honorary Mexican in one popular rhyming chant.
For their part, the thousands of faithful attended the Pope's Mass with reverence, silence, and active participation. Pope Benedict “appreciated it greatly,” Fr. Lombardi commented.
“The Mexican faithful’s capacity demonstrates Christian maturity that the Holy Father is thankful for,” he said, noting the silence that prevailed during the Eucharist.
But the faithful undoubtedly “still knew how to express themselves with joy and happiness” – as when the Pope passed them in his Popemobile, wearing a black sombrero he had been given as a gift.
Fr. Lombardi commented that Sunday's homily was “exceptional,” not only because of its content but also for the form with which the Pope pronounced it, as he “tried to express his spirit” to convey his message to the Mexican people.
The Vatican spokesman also noted that the Pope had spoken of the essential human right to life, a truth made vividly present to Mexicans and other Catholics of the Americas through the apparition and image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.