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A review of religion in Mexico as Pope Francis visits.

Pope Francis arrived in Mexico Friday evening. Mexico has the second highest number of Catholics in the world. Most Mexicans have maintained their Catholic religious faith in comparison to other Latin American countries.

Recent statistics indicated that there has been a tremendous decrease in the number of individuals who identify as Catholic. In the 1960s, the number of Catholics in Latin America was 90%. By the end of 2014, the percentage reduced to 69% of the total population, something that has been attributed to the increased conversion to Protestant Christian.

However, Mexico has only experienced a slight drift from Catholicism. A Pew Research Center report from 2014 showed that 81% of Mexican adults still identify themselves as Catholics today although 90% of the population agrees that they were raised in the Catholic faith.

Other Latin American countries have experienced a dramatic decline in the number of adults who identify as Catholics. Only half of the population will identify as Catholics in places like Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras. Statistics further indicate that in Mexico, about one in ten adults who were raised Catholic have drifted away to Protestant. In Nicaragua, the number of adults who have changed from Catholicism to other denominations is about 25%.

Even as Pope Francis is visiting Mexico, Catholics in Mexico hold varied views of the Catholic Church teachings. The issue of gay marriage has received mixed reactions, and 50% of the Mexican Catholics support legalization of the gay marriages while 42% of Catholics stick to the Church policy and they oppose Gay marriage.

The other contentious moral issues regarding sexuality among Catholics in Mexico are; sex outside wedlock, use of contraception, and divorce. Catholics in Mexico are known to be conservative and only 31% of Mexican support the notion of a priest being allowed to marry and women becoming priests.

 The Pope Francis planned visit to Mexico have been welcomed positively by many Mexican Catholics. During his visit, he is expected to authorize the use of indigenous languages during Mass. Other important themes that the Holy Father is expected to address are; issues regarding immigration, violence, and corruption.

These are the most burning issues that the Mexican people would want to be addressed. A majority of the Mexicans believe that religious leaders should not have political influence and there should be a clear separation between religion and government policies.

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