2016-02-13 21:00:00

The sinking Cathedral

(Vatican Radio) On Saturday morning Pope Francis met the bishops of Mexico in the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Vatican Radio's Veronica Scarisbrick is in Mexico with the Pope and sent us this report:


Mexico's Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption is a grandiose baroque building. It stands proud in the heart of the city. 

It’s here in the austerity of this baroque cathedal  that Pope Francis chose to speak to the nation’s bishops on the morning of Saturday 13th of February. It lends itself itself to a rather  solemn speech like this. 

It's also huge so the bishops, all ninety of them had plenty of elbow room. In fact some of the half empty pews lent to the occasion a sense of grandeur.

Pope Francis stepped into this sacred space greeted not just by the bishops but by the sound of the notes of the ‘Christus Vincit’.

And he stopped briefly to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the ‘Altar del Perdòn”,  dedicated to pardon. A fitting place to begin his Apostolic journey to Mexico during this Jubilee Year of  Mercy

That's before taking his place at the centre of the Cathedral with as backdrop the  grandiose elaborately  carved and gilded altar the ‘Altar de los Reyes’. 

But the most noticable thing about the Cathedral  in my opinion, are its tilting floors. They make you feel dizzy. I wonder  how Pope Francis felt as he stepped in.

This sinking feeling is characteristic of  Mexico City. And its Cathedral is  built over the spongey subsoil of what was once an ancient Aztec precint, a temple to be precise, so a place  symbolically spiritual for many centuries.

Earlier Pope Francis  had crossed the City’s main square, the elegant ‘Plaza de la  Constitucion’ or the ‘Zocalo’ as it’s popularly called by pope mobile. And the   crowds went wild with excitement. The square is the second largest in the world and can hold up to 80.000 people.

Needless to say it was  filled to the brim. 'Papa ancho', young people called out, 'be sure to come back and see us '.

The sun shone and it was warm but the people who had  spent the night there had suffered the cold. Mexico City lies at over 2000 feet above sea level and temperatures drop dramatically at night. So the local authorities thoughtfully moved in distributing blankets and food.

But they were happy just the  same even if they'd only caught a fleeting glimpse of their Latin American Pope going by. 

And as they do here, they cried out for a blessing. But one  lone voice  cried out. A woman's voice who shouted: 'I have something  to give you Papa Francisco, something tha cannot be bought. It's my faith Papa Francisco'. 
With the Pope in Mexico City, I’m Veronica Scarisbrick.

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