VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis is urging Latin American and Caribbean Catholics to celebrate and defend their diversity, saying the face of the Catholic Church is indigenous, mestizo and black.
Francis celebrated a special Mass on Tuesday to mark the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the dark-skinned virgin who appeared to an Indian peasant in the 1500s who is particularly important to Latin American Catholics, the Argentine pope included.
In his homily, Francis said Latin America's indigenous, women, peasants, migrants and unemployed often aren't treated with the dignity they deserve. He urged the region's faithful to not only cultivate their diverse cultures but to "valiantly defend them" against homogenization.
He said "we want to learn to be a church with a mestizo, indigenous, Afro-American face."