Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in Mexico this coming Friday, February 12th and return to Rome on Thursday, February 18th. Mexico has the 2nd largest Catholic population in the world (Brazil is #1) with 99 million members. However, many Mexicans are considered only nominally Catholic as they syncretize Catholic ritual with native traditions.
One of Francis’ goals on this trip is to shore up declining church membership. 96% of Mexicans claimed to be Catholic in 1970 but that has dropped to 81%. Some of the membership downturn can be attributed to people receiving Christ and joining evangelical churches. Many Mexican Catholics have reacted to the growth of evangelical churches with intolerance and violence.
The systematic persecution of evangelicals by the Catholic majority in rural Mexico has received scant notice in the international press (see recent story below). Will Francis, the “pope of mercy,” hold the Mexican bishops accountable for the ongoing violence perpetrated against evangelicals? Is the issue even on his agenda? Let’s remember to pray for our brothers and sisters south of the border who are routinely persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ by their neighbors.
Mexico: Baptist families expelled
February 4, 2016