MEXICO CITY — in his first homily as archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Carlos Aguiar Retes promised humility, encouraged unity and encouraged ministries. In addition, he called for Catholics from the Mexican funding to make a “humanized” town — served with one of the biggest archdioceses in the world and in the core of a nation now absorbed by corruption, crime and inequality.

“Today we are overwhelmed by situations that violate justice and peace; aggressions that denigrate our state because brothers and who foster a lifetime of confrontation, discrimination, contempt for human dignity and that lead to anguish,” Aguiar said in a Feb. 5 Mass following his installation.

“More than ever, we will need to, in the standpoint of religion … reconstruct our society’s way of existence, giving of ourselves — like past generations failed — to encourage the social and rustic jobs we must carry out in order to leave new generations a humanized and humanizing city”

As Catholics there face the challenge of serving a flock increasingly alienated by the church hierarchy, Aguiar arrives in Mexico City. It is a hierarchy that critics say has functioned elites’ interests, not set a priority on social ministries and failed to show a friendly face.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City, with nearly 9 million individuals, presents special challenges to the new archbishop.

Parts of the town have come to be increasingly more popular and left-leaning, while broad swaths of struggling working residents find refuge in popular religion, such as venerating St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of impossible causes, and worshiping the skeletal Santa Muerte, which Catholic leaders hailed as Satanic.

Census statistics reveal Catholicism, although the figure is falling in Mexico City is still professed by 83 percent of Mexicans.

Aguiar succeeds Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, who filed his resignation upon turning 75, as required by canon law. Rivera claimed success following 22 decades of leading the Mexico City Archdiocese, telling Aguiar in his final statement as archbishop: “I leave you a combined archdiocese, full of religion, moved by hope and participating in charity for the least shielded.”

Catholics behind Rivera say he operated using a church backer to supply appropriate attention to priests, started a seminary to train priests for serving communities from the United States and encouraged schooling.

He could be contentious, however, and that he was mocked at the Mexico City media. He defended against the Legionaries of Christ, whose founder fathered kids and sexually abused seminarians and, critics contend, did not properly report cases of sexual abuse to the government — a complaint Rivera has denied.

Rivera consistently spoke out against social policy changes ruled since 1997 by governments — including legislation approved in the late 2000s to decriminalize abortion and permit same-sex marriages. Aguiar has predicted overturning Mexico City’s abortion law a priority.

Rivera also conveyed through editorials in a diocesan novel. One editorial questioned after Pope Francis urged bishops to face the crises of crime and drug cartel violence of Mexico, who’d advised that the pope on issues.

Aguiar alluded to disunity in his homily and mentioned the pope’s 2016 address.

“May your gaze, rested constantly and only on Christ, be in a position to add to the unity of these individuals, hastening reconciliation of differences and integrating their motto … of helping to locate sustainable and shared options due to their miseries,” Aguiar said.

Called a leader, but also a person of politics, Aguilar led the bishops’ conference and the Latin American bishops’ council.

While venture of the Mexican bishops, he worked with politicians on a constitutional change to permit for religious liberty and organized the church response to decriminalize abortion.

Citing the instance of the archdiocesan patron, St. Felipe de Jesus, Mexico’s first martyr, Aguiar guaranteed to further pursue increased religious liberty. Mexico’s Church was persecuted from the 1920s Cristero Rebellion and has been forced to exist until the Vatican connections in 1992 and Mexico with no status or condition recognition.

Shouts of Viva Cristo Rey — that the Cristero battle shout — were heard at his installation. The temptations of the Metropolitan Cathedral also were seemed for the first time since the Sept. 19 earthquake that rocked the funding and damaged the cathedral.

Aguiar promised to observe in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a more readily accessible sanctuary than the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Encourage increased closeness with the people and A few observers saw the move as an attempt to advertise the profile of the cardinal. Others stated Aguiar would win over people with his nature and pastoral strategy.

“He is a very charismatic person,” who believes in enabling the job of laypeople, stated Chicago Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, that attended the installment and stated he wished to reestablish a previous cooperation deal with the Archdiocese of Mexico City.

“He is an active individual,” Cupich added. “He also knows how to get things done”