Vatican City: Mexico on Tuesday registered a rare diplomatic protest with the Vatican over comments by Pope Francis warning that his native Argentina was in danger of "Mexicanisation" by drug gangs.
The comment came in an email the pontiff wrote to an Argentinian friend, Gustavo Vera, who heads an NGO called "Alameda" which is involved in combating organised crime and human trafficking.
"I hope we (in Argentina) can avoid Mexicanisation," the pope wrote in what was a reference to Mexico`s problems with warring drugs gangs.
"I have spoken with Mexican bishops and it is a terrifying reality," he added in the message, which Vera made public.
Mexico`s foreign ministry reacted on Tuesday by sending a diplomatic note to the Holy See expressing its "sadness and concern" at comments which "stigmatised" the country.
"Mexico is making enormous efforts to combat drug trafficking," the note underlined, diplomatic sources told AFP.
The Vatican is not expected to respond immediately as Francis is on a spiritual retreat this week.