Pope Francis tells young Mexicans Jesus doesn't want them to join cartels

Gang violence has ravaged Mexico over the past decade.

Payton Guion
New York
Wednesday 17 February 2016 16:58 GMT
Pope Francis has urged Mexican youths to stay away from the cartels.
Pope Francis has urged Mexican youths to stay away from the cartels. (Getty Images)

Pope Francis has taken a shot at the cartels during his visit to Mexico, warning youth to stay away from the gangs, because that's what Jesus would do.

"Jesus would never ask us to be hit men," Pope Francis said, according to Reuters. "He would never send us out to death."

Cartel violence has been omnipresent in Mexico over the past several years, especially in the western states, where the drug trade has catapulted cartels to become the de facto leaders of some regions. Frontline reported last year that more than 150,000 civilians have been killed in cartel violence.

"It is a lie to believe that the only way to live, or to be young, is to entrust oneself to drug dealers or others who do nothing but sow destruction and death," the pope said at a rally in Michoacan, one of the states hit hardest by drug violence.

The pop didn't stop at imploring youth to ignore the allure of the cartels, he also hit out at the Mexican government for failing to give youth better options.

"It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation where there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which leads you to extreme situations," he said.

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