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MEXICO CITY ( - A rising controversy over the Mexican government's "neoliberal" economic policies has raised speculation this week that Pope John Paul will address the issue when he visits the country next week.
The government has passed new austerity measure in the latest budget that sharply increase gasoline prices and deregulate the price of tortillas, the staple food of the Mexican diet -- moves which many see as part of an effort to pad the pockets of a few at the expense of many. "We are caught in the whirlwind of an economy which has exclusion as its premise ... and which has placed in the hands of a few the majority of goods, leaving millions without real opportunities for progress," Cardinal Norbeta Rivera of Mexico City said in a homily at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Mexican officials were said by some commentators to be nervous that the Holy Father might speak on the issue which allow opposition groups to seize on the comment and use it against the government policies. But Bishop Luis Morales Reyes, president of the Mexican bishops' conference, said: "He will not touch on delicate subjects. He has always shown the utmost respect for the autonomy of each country."