Pope wraps up Brazil trip with Copacabana Mass
Pope Francis wrapped up a historic trip to his home continent on Sunday with a Mass on Copacabana beach that drew a reported 3 million people, who cheered the first Latin American pope in a remarkable response to his message that the Catholic Church must shake itself up and get out into the streets to find the faithful.
Nearly the entire four kilometre crescent of Copacabana’s broad beach overflowed with people, some of them taking an early morning dip in the Atlantic and others tossing t-shirts, flags and soccer jerseys into the pontiff’s open-sided car as he drove by.
Francis worked the crowd, kissing babies, taking a sip of mate tea handed up to him and catching gifts on the fly. Even the normally stern-faced Vatican bodyguards let smiles slip as they jogged alongside his car, caught up in the enthusiasm of the crowd.
Calls for dialogue to resolve unrest
Pope Francis told Brazil’s political elite on Sunday ‘constructive dialogue’was needed to confront the country’s social turmoil. In a speech to political, religious and civil society leaders, Francis said ‘constructive dialogue ..(was) essential for facing the present moment,’ referring to the massive street protests that rocked Brazil last month.
‘Between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue. A country grows when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components,’said the pontiff who is on a week-long visit to Latin America’s most populous country,’ Pope said.
Last month, young Brazilians spearheaded nationwide street demonstrations to demand an end to corruption and better public services.