Pope Francis hosts an outdoor mass in Mexico, and delivers a special message

Pope Francis reaches out to greet youth dressed in traditional Mexican outfits as he's escorted by Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, behind right, and first lady Angelica Rivera upon arrival to Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Friday, Feb. 12, 2016. The pontiff is in Mexico for a week-long visit. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

ECATEPEC, Mexico (AP) – Pope Francis has told Mexicans at a huge outdoor Mass that there can be “no dialogue with the devil.”

The pontiff says that’s because the devil “will always defeat us, (and) only the power of the word of God can defeat him.”

Francis’ comments came as he briefly departed from prepared remarks during his homily in Ecatepec, a hardscrabble city of 1.6 million outside the Mexican capital. Ecatepec has been afflicted by murders, kidnappings and extortion by criminal gangs.

Speaking out against the drug trade and associated violence is a central theme of the pope’s five-day visit.

Francis urged the faithful to make Mexico a place “where there will be no need to emigrate in order to dream, no need to be exploited in order to work,” and no need to mourn those “who are destroyed at the hands of the dealers of death.”

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