The latest instalment of the James Bond franchise “Spectre” opens up in Mexico City amidst the chaos of the revelry of the festival of Santa Muerte in Mexico City. This massive and riotous celebration of this death cult is something most people outside of Central America had never heard of before Bond brought it to the big screen in all its debauchery.
It seems Pope Francis is going to try to do something about it in his upcoming visit to Mexico. Santa Muerte became an unofficial “folk saint” (NOT recognized by the church in the 1830’s when Spanish images of the Grim reaper were adapted, and Santa Muerte became a craze among many Mexicans, who prayed to her for intercession and favours, The Church reacted and stamped it out quickly, destroying chaplets dedicated to her, as well as festivals. Santa Muerte surfaced again in the 1940’s with a vengeance and has since become one of the fastest growing cults in the Americas.
in 2001, a woman named Enriqueta Romero brought her Santa Muerte statue to an Altar in the Tepito neighbourhood of Mexico City and since then people have been coming daily to pray to her. Romero says she remains a devout Catholic. (Catholic Online) .
A quote from Sra. Romero will provide some insights into what can happen when a heresy takes on a life of its own:"On one hand I have God, and on the other I have Death. And when I die, God will tell the skinny one to take Dona Queta away. How great that the pope is coming. Glory be to God. How great that he is coming to give us many blessings." (Catholic Online)
Sra. Romero appears to be in for a big surprise. While Pope Francis may be coming to give blessings, he is expected call out and condemn the devotion to the false “saint” whose very essence stands foursquare in opposition to everything the Church teaches in it’s pro-life worldview, not to mention scriptures many warnings about participating in necromancy (Communication with the dead).
Here is another article which goes into some more detail as to the extent that this false “saint”’s tentacles have penetrated into Mexican society. Some parents have had their children baptised by a priestess of Santa Muerte right after their Catholic baptism. Others pray to her for forgiveness, after believing they have been punished by injuries by her for their sins. Her appeal transcends all demographics in Mexican society, and is spreading throughout Central and South America rapidly. Enriqueta Vargas, who erected a 72’ Fiberglass statue and temple to this abomination in 2007 has also officiated over baptisms and weddings. (some disturbing images of this statue and some of the worship around it can be found here)
Most Mexicans who participate in this cultish false worship (an estimated 12 million people, making it the fastest growing cult in the Americas) also remain(in their minds) devout Catholics. In fact one man asked Sra. Vargas whether he could Worship both the “Our Lady of Guadalupe” Icon and that of Santa Muerte, and she told him that was fine. The Vatican has declared Santa Muerte to be blasphemous.
Santa Muerte is also reportedly very popular among the drug cartels currently ravaging Mexico.
Among other things, part of Pope Francis’ trip to Mexico will involve confronting Mexicans about the worship of this macabre figure who has been the target of 4 condemnations by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi in recent years.