March 24th, 2012
10:17 AM ET

Mexico spends millions to greet pope

By Rafael Romo, CNN

(CNN) - It has been a project of celestial proportions, but it's finally ready. Construction workers have labored nonstop for months.

Their mission? To build an altar worthy of a pope and an outdoor venue that can accommodate as many as 700,000 people.

The altar where Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on Sunday is located at Bicentennial Park in Mexico's Guanajuato state, the heartland of Mexican Catholicism. Guanajuato has the highest percentage of Catholics in Mexico at well over 90 percent.

Benedict is expected to arrive at 4:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. ET) Friday at Guanajuato's International Airport.
The nation's Catholics have been waiting for a papal visit since Joseph Ratzinger was elevated to the papacy in 2005. President Felipe Calderon invited the pontiff to Mexico when they met in Vatican City in 2007 and then again in May of last year when Juan Diego, a Mexican Indian, was canonized.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is 'really' delusional.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  2. Atheist

    It's hard to fathom the thought of any country spending millions of dollars to accommodate a visit by some meaningless religious figure who represents a religion that does nothing to actually help that country. The Vatican has a boundless treasury. Let them pay for their own ridiculous altars. Better yet, use some of those trillions they have to actually help others.

    March 25, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    March 25, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • Atheist

      Oooh, look everyone, the brainless spambot added the word "really" to his ridiculous drivel.

      March 25, 2012 at 7:32 am |
  4. just sayin

    Oops that looks proof with no evasion. Whatever will the phony just sayin find to b itch about now?

    March 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • What a miserable failure that was, just sayin!

      Is this the "proof" to which you refer, which you posted below?

      "That all men are endowed by their creator (God) with certain inalienable rights. God given rights which include life, now and eternally." Prove it. That is just another of your wild, unsupported statements. The source of the first line is men in 1776, not God or the Bible, and the text is not part of the laws of the United States. The Bible never refers to life as a right, and certainly God is more than happy to alienate you from your inalienable right to life at his whim, and he does so daily to millions. If life was an inalienable right, then you cannot lose it.

      Under Christianity, you do not have a right to the afterlife, and certainly not inalienable one. It is a priviledge, not a right, supposedly bestowed upon the obedient (though no proof of this is ever given). Many do not get this "inalienable right" by accident of birth or birth defect or whatever, even though they never had a chance to choose.

      Inalienable right is not a Christian ideal – it is an Enlightenment ideal.

      You said "Christ came that we might have abundant life." Prove it – there is no evidence of Jesus outside the Bible, and the Bible fails badly as a historical source. Moreover, there are many such books from many different faiths, all of which say different things, all of which say all the others are wrong, and all of which are of equal credibility. The Bible fails as a source of evidence. You fail on this point. It's just another unsupported assertion.

      "Liberty, freedom who the Son of God (Jesus) has set free is free indeed" Again, no proof, just a blind unsupported statement. You are not free if you must closely obey a tyrant like God, under penalty of eternal torture.

      You refer to "The pursuit of happiness or realizing your God given potential and becoming the person God created you to be." Again, no support, no evidence, just a blind statement. The Bible does not support the pursuit of happiness – it rejects it, instead demanding obedience to earn a place in heaven. Prove your potential is God-given. Prove God created you. Once again, no evidence at all, just double talk that does not even stand up to your own belief system.

      Not proven. Not at all. All you provided was gibberish fantasies that are a bizarre mix of two lines from the Declaration of independence, written by a man who would go on to enshrine the concept of Separation Of Church And State into the Constitution, and some home-made ideas about God that are not even in the Bible.

      Not proven.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooooh, just sayin got served. That'll leave a mark.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • just sayin

      I just remembered why I like to evade: when I actually try to support my opinions, everybody laughs at me. I think I'll go back to evading. I think I'll change my name too, so that nobody recognizes me when I say the same things I always do. I be † In God We Trust † from now on. That will fool them.

      March 25, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • just sayin

      Everything I posted has been proven. There are God given rights evidenced in our bill of rights, only a sluggard would miss those facts. Virtually all scholars of ancient history accept the personage of Jesus. The lie of doubt is a relatively recent invention by those desperate and foolish enough to deny God. There are no fewer than twenty extra biblical sources that support the person of Jesus including several works that were written in opposition to Christianity. The overwhelming majority of Truth and belief is with my positions. God bless

      March 25, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • And now it is evasions again for just saying

      There are God given rights evidenced in our bill of rights, only a sluggard would miss those facts." Gotta go ad hominem when you can't support your assertions? Again, the Bill of Rights was written by men – there is no evidence whatsoever that God played any part. God is not mentioned in the Constitution or Bill of Right, though the latter separates him from Government.

      "Virtually all scholars of ancient history accept the personage of Jesus." No, there is a minority who do not. The majority of "scholars of ancient history" do not believe any of the supernatural claims about him – he is thought to be just a person. You once again provided blind unsupported assertion with no evidence.

      "The lie of doubt is a relatively recent invention by those desperate and foolish enough to deny God." No, that comes from the lack of evidence, and the reduction of prejudice for Jesus – and you copped out to ad hominem again.

      "There are no fewer than twenty extra biblical sources that support the person of Jesus including several works that were written in opposition to Christianity." Not from his lifetime. The earliest comes many decades later, in the next century, and all appear to be accepting the claims of Christians. You are supplying a severe distortion. Even Christian sources come decades later, meaning that nothing written about Jesus was done by anyone who actually met him. All of it is the notoriously unreliable word-of-mouth, pased along through a number of people over decades before being written. Sorry, but you have not provided any evidence here.

      "The overwhelming majority of Truth and belief is with my positions." Except it isn't, and you provided no support or evidence, and you copped out to ad hominem.

      Very very lame. You can stop saying "proven" now, because the only thing you proved was that you have no proof.

      March 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Answer

      The heart of every religious idiot is the 'plea'.

      "Please believe in my words. Please accept my emotional attachment to my delusions. Please I beg that god kills you so I can be right."

      Such is the emotional drivel of the religious fool. So much emptiness and no facts.

      March 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      just lyin needs a tourniquet, STAT.

      March 25, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  5. My greatest hope

    I hope Il Papa decides to try some coca and he has a heart attack and dies.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  6. gina

    this is great im really wishing MEXICO the best on this

    March 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      gina, no disrepect. But you are wishing them the best on what? They waste money. The Pope comes. The Pope leaves. Huh?

      March 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  7. lol

    If they had a brain they'd sue him for all the gold his disgusting cult stole from them, and demand reparations for the holocaust the church inflicted on the peoples who lived there.

    March 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      lol, they don't even know they are victims. Those millions they are spending don't go to education remember.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  8. AGuest9

    Drug money

    March 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline


      March 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  9. Urafkntool

    Why spend millions? If I remember my bible school right (yes, I was raised Catholic), Jesus was a simple carpenter who preached about simple things. I don't remember "spending millions" being part of his teaching?

    March 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      because they care more about looking "divine" than they do about the starving people in whose country they are building this monument.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Urafkntool

      Ya know, those millions could be used to actually secure their own borders to keep their indigents from infesting our country.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      When the woman broke the vial of costly perfume over Jesus there were those that complained because the perfume was worth a years wages. There is wasteful spending and there is honor. It would be impossible to explain honor to atheists.

      March 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Mamaev Kurgan

      Jesus was not a carpenter. The original words that were mistranslated into English as "carpenter" really mean "manual laborer" or "mason". There would have been very little work for a carpenter in a land with no wood.

      He wasn't the messiah either, but that has nothing to do with translations.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Eric

      Muneef, what bible school r ya talkin about?

      March 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Makes you wonder about all the gold and art at the Vatican, doesn't it?

      March 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • AGuest9

      just sayin, I DARE you to make a comment like that to a veteran's face!

      March 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      just sayin,
      It would be impossible to explain honor (or much else) to YOU. You are either the dumbest person ever or a very good troll. Either way, you are panty waste.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      Why not, most veterans are God fearing citizens of this one nation under God. President George H W Bush a WW 2 combat fighter pilot said "an atheist is not a patriot and should not be a citizen of America". Trying to explain honor to an atheist would be an exercise in futility

      March 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • AGuest9

      just lyin': MANY soldiers who are atheist protect your sorry hide! Deal with it.

      This sad devotion to Bush is really nauseating. The sum total of his presidency was to start a war in the Persian Gulf, then hand it over to his successor to clean up. Oops, like father, like son! Let's see: Gulf I: $61.1 billion paid by the US taxpayer. Gulf II: $1.9 trillion, paid by the US taxpayer. Destroying our economy? "Mission Accomplished!"

      March 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Ungodly Discipline

    I think the real beauty of this is the trickle down effect it has on the American economy. Sure, on the surface it seems absurd, but when you consider all those workers making a few bucks, all the contractors making large sums, all those drug cartels (aka "the mob") deciding who gets those contracts and then making millions themselves to fund their business, it is a slam dunk for the U.S.

    Now we still have a war on drugs to pretend we are fighting, drugs on the street keeping our police force busy (jobs). Drive by shooting and overdoses and arrests and prison time (jobs). We can thank the Pope and those Mexican pioneers that make the American way of life possible! God Bless.

    March 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Hey, wadaya know, wadaha say? It's just business, nothing personal. And hey, shooting people when the Pope is in town is definately bad for business capiche?

      March 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  11. Ungodly Discipline

    just sayin aren't you over-do for a "Prayer Changes Things" post?

    March 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • just sayin

      Might you be referring to "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"? which of course atheism is. Feel free to use the phrase "atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" It is Truth after all.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      No, I am telling YOU that you are over due for one of your dumb posts, dummy.

      March 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • just sayin

      That would be " Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things" which is still a wonderful True post all by itself.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  12. Tim Tebow

    The Promise

    “To the fans and everybody in Jet’s Nation, I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. You were hoping for a professional quarterback. That was my goal, something the Jet’s have not had here in a long time. I promise you one thing; a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country carry the clip board as hard as I will carry the clip board this season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody from the bench. You will never see a team play harder than my team will this season with Mark Sanchez at Quarterback God bless.”

    March 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • fail

      you failed.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Tim Tebow

      You can't win them all God bless.

      March 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  13. Ungodly Discipline

    Shouldn't they have arrested the drug cartels while they were busy hanging their posters?

    March 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      religion is the biggest 'drug' cartel of them all.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      You will get no argument from me. This story illustrates that point very well.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Sports Fan

    What is the big deal? You would think they were preparing for the World Cup!

    March 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  15. Tim Tebow

    I love the pope God bless.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Here's the Pope bio:

      March 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Luke is taken to see the Pope at the Vatican:

      March 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  16. Bootyfunk

    yay it's the pope. maybe he's in mexico to spread more HIV/AIDs by telling people not to wear condoms?

    March 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • pervert alert

      wasn't it qu eers the people gave AIDS to the world

      March 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Ick

      Queeeeerssss FULL BLOWN AIDS

      March 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • gerald

      The irony of it all is that there is no reason for those who would engage in risky behaviors to not use condoms since the Church preaches against the risky behaviors also. So you who think the Church is the cause of the aids epidemic somehow think these people are listening to the Church about condoms. It's silly.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • It's like this

      No, it wasn't. The disease originated in primates in Africa, most likely Central Africa, and probably transfered to humans through contact with chimpanzee blood during the hunt for bushmeat. It spreads through contact with blood or blood-related substances, like shares hypodermics or sex (hetero as well as homo). Indeed, in Africa where the problem is worst, it is spreading most rapidly due to heterosexual contact.

      That's the truth of the matter. I know that disagrees with the bigotted ignorant propaganda you and religious people like you are spreading, but that is just too bad. Truth is truth, and you are telling lies, Christian.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      do i think the church is the cause of the AIDs epidemic? no, i never said that. i said the church has helped to spread HIV/AIDs by telling people not to wear condoms. that is a fact. and yes, the church tells them not to have s.e.x either. you really think people aren't going to have s.e.x? but when your religious leader tells you wearing a condom is a sin, that is something you listen to.

      and for the above h.o.m.o.phobes - get a frontal lobotomy. your brains aren't working right anyway.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • AGuest9

      No, that was a myth, perpetuated by the church (and others). HIV has been traced back to an African village in the late 1800's. You know, the disease EVOLVED.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Atheism is very healthy for children and other living things.
      Prayer changes nothing.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • just sayin

      Atheism destroys the fabric of life, denies children their God given rights and causes the downfall of nations.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • just sayin

      Of course, I cannot give a single example to support what I am just sayin, but it is true anyway. And if you ask me about it, I will provide evasions instead of legitimate responses, as usual. Because to be Christian is to lie and be forgiven, so it is okay to lie.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • just sayin

      everybody wants to be me

      March 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • just sayin

      History and common sense provide all the evidence necessary to illustrate the evils of atheism.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • just sayin

      See? I love to evade instead of responding.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • just sayin

      I'm not going to support my statements with evidence or facts! I'm not! NOT! NOT! NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M HOLDING MY BREATH UNTIL YOU STOPASKING FOR EVIDENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Irked

      I can't stand mothers (sometimes fathers too, but less often) who say, "...Because I said so."

      March 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • just sayin

      And as the original me said everybody wants to be me. Stealing a name? Sounds like someone else is more into evading doesn't it.

      March 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • just sayin

      Evading is so much fun!

      March 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • just sayin

      How cute it still wants to be me.

      March 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      It's so cute how I evaded again!

      March 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • AGuest9

      There is no such thing as "God given rights". That was a saying used as an excuse by monarchs to grab power.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • just sayin

      That all men are endowed by their creator (God) with certain inalienable rights. God given rights which include life, now and eternally. Christ came that we might have abundant life. Liberty, freedom who the Son of God (Jesus) has set free is free indeed and the pursuit of happiness or realizing your God given potential and becoming the person God created you to be.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • just sayin

      Oops proof provided for all but the most severely mentally challenged atheists.

      March 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Obviously, you are unable to even cut and paste correctly.

      March 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  18. tallulah13

    Crying shame that they won't spend that money doing something about all the drug-related murders in Mexico, or about the poverty that leads so many to come to the U.S. It appears that the Mexican government, like the catholic church, is more interested in appearances than in actually helping people.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • portland tony

      As long as North Americans spend some $20 billions on drugs each year, all the friggin money in Mexico is not gonna stop the Cartels from doin' their business. Maybe a little Devine intervention will subjugate the greed and the almighty power of the AK-74! Nothing else has!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we're the ones buying the drugs. not fair to blame mexico. if we'd didn't buy it, they wouldn't sell it. also, we're like 1000x richer than them. why don't we spend the money instead?

      March 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    How is it conscionable that these enormous sums be spent on infrastructure intended to welcome a religious 'leader' who does NOTHING for the poor of Mexico?

    March 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • portland tony

      Look on the bright side...All those construction workers got paid....It's Kinda like the Olympics. You put people to work. You build a coliseum and people come onetime. Ask the British!

      March 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • AGuest9

      And, tony, the people of Atlanta.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  20. Money Well Spent

    Hey, now that's really useful! A large pretentious altar for 700,000 that will only be used once, and it costs millions.

    I cannot possibly imagine a better use for that much money in a country with no poverty like Mexico!

    March 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • portland tony

      Probably better spent than the couple of trillion bucks spent on two wars...And remembering that there is no poverty in the United States!

      March 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no, not better spent. both are a waste of money and could have been put to better use.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.