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New Mexican Cardinal: Me...one day Pope? Well, I have better chances than my niece

2015-02-28

Alberto Suárez Inda is the Archbishop of Morelia, Mexico. Since mid-February he is also a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He serves in an area that's known for its violence and drug trafficking. 

According to the Mexican government, in 2014, nearly 2,500 murders and roughly 120 kidnappings were reported in that area alone. Given this hardship, he says, the titular church he was assigned to symbolically lead here in Rome, is quite appropriate. 

CARD. ALBERTO SUÁREZ INDA
Archbishop of Morelia (Mexico)
"I was very happy to find out that I was assigned the titular church of St. Polycarp, who was a great martyr of the 20th century. The Pope told me, 'May Polycarp help you when dealing with risks, especially in that hot territory.” 

The role of the Church in that area is key. So much so that priests are often targeted. In the last two years, eight have been killed. 

Immigration is another hot button issue. Millions of people have left their hometown behind because of the violence, searching for better opportunities. Many of them, make their way to the U.S, hoping for a better future. 

CARD. ALBERTO SUÁREZ INDA
Archbishop of Morelia (Mexico)
"They are people who work hard and deserve respect. Often times, children and grandparents are left behind, when adults go look for work. Some of our neighborhoods become ghost towns, because of  mass immigration.” 

When he turned 75 years old, the now Cardinal turned in his resignation, as it required by Canon  Law. But it was rejected. One year later, he was made a Cardinal. Jokingly, this is what he responded when asked if he could ever be elected Pope. 

CARD. ALBERTO SUÁREZ INDA
Archbishop of Morelia (Mexico)
"Look, any priest or any Bishop can be elected Pope. I may have greater chances than my niece, but it's still a long shot. Any male, who is Baptized  and Catholic can be elected. God knows who He will choose in the future. But whoever has ambitions to be Pope, is a bad candidate.” 

For now, he says the Pope isn't planning on a trip to Mexico. John Paul II visited that country five times. Benedict XVI once. He recognizes that after so many papal visits, maybe it's time other countries to enjoy the moment. 


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