LEON, Mexico — Speaking before an estimated 350,000 people at an open-air Mass here in a nation wracked by drug violence, Pope Benedict XVI urged the faithful to be humble and trust in God in the face of "evil and sin as a power, practically implacable and impossible to overcome."
Tens of thousands of faithful walked for miles in the sun to attend the Mass in this traditionally conservative, Catholic region, which the pope celebrated beneath a towering statue of Christ the King, an important symbol of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico. Earlier, Benedict was flown by helicopter over the statue to bless it.
The Mass was billed as a highlight of Benedict's three-day trip to Mexico, a visit the Vatican has said is pastoral in nature but that has been seen widely as shoring up support for the conservative National Action Party of President Felipe Calderon, known as the PAN, ahead of national elections in 14 weeks.
Calderon met with Benedict in Guanajuato on Saturday and attended Sunday's Mass. Today, Benedict departs for a visit to Cuba.