LIFESTYLE

Vatican apologizes to Mexico for Pope's 'Mexicanization' remarks

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 17:  A boy waves the flag of Mexico in St Peter's Square after Pope Francis gave his first Angelus blessing on March 17, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Vatican is preparing for the inauguration of Pope Francis on March 19, 2013 in St Peter's Square.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 17: A boy waves the flag of Mexico in St Peter's Square after Pope Francis gave his first Angelus blessing on March 17, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Vatican is preparing for the inauguration of Pope Francis on March 19, 2013 in St Peter's Square. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)  (2013 Getty Images)

Pope Francis' casual speaking style has gotten him into diplomatic trouble.

The Vatican said Wednesday it had sent a note to Mexico's ambassador insisting that Francis "absolutely did not intend to hurt the feelings of the Mexican people" by referring to the "Mexicanization" of his native Argentina from drug trafficking.

Francis made the reference in an email to an Argentine friend involved in combating the drug trade, who then made it public. Mexico formally complained to the Vatican.

In a statement Wednesday, the Vatican said the Pope's words were contained in a personal email and that he had merely repeated a phrase that his friend had used. It said Francis in no way wanted to detract from Mexico's efforts to combat drug trafficking.

"The Holy See feels that the term 'Mexicanization' in no way should (be thought to) have a stigmatizing intent toward the people of Mexico and even less so should it be considered a political opinion to the detriment of a nation that is continuing to make a serious effort to eradicate violence and the social causes that give rise to it," said the Mexican Embassy to the Holy See.

The Mexican Embassy to the Vatican on Tuesday sent a communique to the media after Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi sent a letter with these observations to Mexico's envoy to the Holy See, Mariano Palacios Alcocer.

In the missive, according to the Mexican Embassy, "the Holy See acknowledged the excellent ... relations with Mexico" and confirmed that Pope Francis "at no time intended to injure the feelings of the Mexican people or the efforts of the country's government."

The remarks of the Holy See come one day after the pontiff expressed his concern over the advance of drug trafficking in his native Argentina in a private letter directed to Buenos Aires lawmaker Gustavo Vera in which he asked that "the Mexicanization (of Argentina) be avoided."

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