Monday, July 22, 2013

Pope Francis' Apostolic Journey to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) on the Occasion of World Youth Day (22-29 July 2013)

This post will feature ongoing coverage of Pope Francis' journey to Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and World Youth Day. It will be regularly updated as news and commentary becomes available.

Schedule of Papal Events

Pope Francis drew a reported 3 million flag-waving, rosary-toting faithful to Rio’s Copacabana beach on Saturday for the final evening of World Youth Day. Source: Capital Gazette, AP, Filipe Dana
  • Pope Francis Meets With Volunteers Before Departing Rio Zenit. 07/29/13:
    Before leaving Brazil, Pope Francis meet with an estimated 15,000 volunteers at the Congress Center Pavilion in Rio de Janeiro. The group was only a sliver of the 60,000 volunteers who worked in the past two years preparing for World Youth Day. The Holy Father expressed his gratitude for their work.

    The Pope also thanked them for “the countless little ways by which you have made this World Youth Day an unforgettable experience of faith. With your smiles, your acts of kindness and your willingness to serve, you have shown that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'”.

  • From the IOR to the gay lobby: Pope Francis tells all on flight from Rio to Rome, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/29/13. On the flight from Rio to Rome, Francis answered dozens of questions, some personal, some about the sensitive and burning issues concerning the Vatican.
  • On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, ‘Who Am I to Judge?’, by Rachel Donadio. New York Times 07/29/13:
    ... brief remarks by Pope Francis suggesting that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation, made aboard the papal airplane on the way back from his first foreign trip, to Brazil, resonated through the church. Never veering from church doctrine opposing homosexuality, Francis did strike a more compassionate tone than that of his predecessors, some of whom had largely avoided even saying the more colloquial “gay.”
  • Rio's Copacabana beach transformed as three million Catholics pack sands for Sunday Mass, by Nick Squires. Telegraph UK. 07/28/13. It is usually synonymous with unbridled hedonism, but Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach was transformed into a vast encampment of the faithful on Sunday when three million young Catholics squeezed onto every last inch of sand for the climax of the Pope's week-long visit to Brazil.
  • Pope commissions young people to be missionaries without borders, by Cindy Wooden. Catholic News Service. 07/28/13:
    Pope Francis commissioned some 3 million young people to join forces and form what could be called Missionaries Without Borders.

    "Where does Jesus send us?" he asked World Youth Day pilgrims July 28. "There are no borders, no limits: He sends us to everyone."

  • “We need a Church capable of warming hearts” La Stampa 07/27/13:
    Francis was addressing the Brazilian Church but today’s lunch with the region’s cardinals and bishops in Rio’s Archbishopric was much more than this. The Pope laid out a plan for his pontificate. He presented the image of a Church which walks beside its faithful in order to be truly missionary and “is able to make sense of the “night” contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem.” In order to do this, the Church must stop being “too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas, perhaps the world seems to have made the Church a relic of the past, unfit for new questions.” It needs to learn to be simple again, warm people’s hearts and “rediscover the maternal womb of mercy.”
  • Penitents, prisoners and pilgrims: Pope meets youth up close, by Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service 07/26/13:
    Pope Francis spent the morning and early afternoon of July 26 with about two dozen young people from different countries and diverse backgrounds, in a range of encounters that illustrated his characteristic emphasis on inclusion and reconciliation.

    The most dramatic meeting was the half hour he spent in the Rio de Janeiro archbishop's residence with eight young offenders from four area prisons. ...

  • A million young people jam Rio's Copacabana beach to try to see pope. Catholic News Service. 07/26/13.
  • Fears grow for Pope's safety in Brazil | Pope Francis forced into helicopter to avoid protests The Telegraph 07/23/13:
    The Pontiff was forced to arrive at Guanabara palace, the house of the governor of Rio state, by military helicopter, as protesters clashed with riot police using tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades.

    While some expressed anger over the cost of the £35 million papal visit, the main focus of the protests was against the Brazilian government, which last month faced violent street protests over corruption, poor public services, and the expense of hosting next year's soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

  • In Rio slum, pope denounces corruption, 'culture of selfishness' Catholic News Service. 07/25/13.
  • Pope returns to Marian shrine, entrusts WYD to Mary's care Catholic News Service. 07/24/13.
  • 400,000 brave wind, rain for WYD opening Mass on Copacabana beach Catholic News Service. 07/24/13.
  • Crowds in Rio swarm pope, who wanted to be 'close to the people', by By Francis X. Rocca. Catholic News Service. 07/22/13.
  • Bomb found at Aparecida shrine ahead of Pope's visit Catholic News Agency. 07/22/13:
    “It was a homemade device with little potential to cause fatalities,” according to a statement of the Brazilian Air Force. “It is worth pointing out that such episodes formed part of our security forces’ training in Aparecida and at no point were civilians' lives in danger.”

    The bomb has already been destroyed. It was discovered around 11:30 am in Rio, during the completion of simulated exercises by security forces, according to Brazil's Grupo Estado.

  • Pope Francis Meets Benedict, Asks for His Prayers During WYD, by Edward Pentin. 7/19/13.
  • Pope Francis’ Style Changes Papal Flight, by David Uebbing. National Catholic Register 07/22/13.

John Allen, Jr.


  • What do pope's remarks on gays mean?, by Kevin Clarke. 07/30/13.
  • Towards a Non-Romantic Theology of Women, by Anna Sutherland. First Things "First Thoughts" 07/29/13. Less noticed than references to homosexuality in Pope Francis’ widely circulated remarks to the press on the Rio-to-Rome papal airplane was this comment on developing a theology of women.
  • World Youth Days, by Fr. Joseph A. Komonchak. Commonweal 07/29/13:
    I have two questions about World Youth Days. The first is prompted by reading that some three million people attended the papal Mass on the Copacabana beach. Is the Mass intended for such massive gatherings? Aren’t there other types of services that could be devised instead? I don’t think that every significant occasion in the life of the Church requires that a Mass be celebrated.

    And then, how broad, how deep, and how enduring is the effect of such “Catholic Woodstocks”?

  • Jerusalem's Bishop Shomali: " Francis is truly the Pope of the poor" 07/28/13. Jerusalem’s auxiliary bishop tells how WYD has helped young Catholics from the Holy Land, and discusses the possibility of the Pope’s visit there.
  • Francis and the importance of confession, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider":
    That Sunday, in the homily he pronounced during mass in the parish of Saint Anne in the Vatican, the Pope mentioned another chat he had had with a penitent who did not believe he was worthy of forgiveness because “he had done some really awful things.” Fr. Bergoglio replied to him: “Go to Jesus! He likes people talking to him about these things” He forgets; he has a special gift for forgetting. He forgets, he kisses you, embraces you and tells you: “I don’t condemn you, go and sin no more!” This is the only advice he gives.”

    Francis also talked about the sacrament of penance during the Pentecost vigil with the ecclesial movements, when he confessed he missed having the freedom to go out and listen to people’s confessions in the parish whenever he pleased. He listed the questions he usually asks those who come to confess about giving money to the poor: “Do you give money to the poor? When you give money to the poor do you look them in the eye? When you give money to the poor do you touch their hand? Touching a poor person’s hand means touching “the body of Christ,” Francis explained.

  • Bergoglio sets about rebuilding the Church, just as St. Francis did. Italian newspaper "La Stampa" interviews former Franciscan [and liberation theologian], Leonardo Boff. La Stampa 07/24/13.
  • Francis in Brazil: Spirituality and the Challenges of Globalization, by Vincent J. Miller. America 07/23/13:
    As Francis began his journey to World Youth Day, in his comments to reporters he touched upon the specifics he will face in Brazil and sounded what are becoming familiar notes from his papacy. The two will come together in a provocative way in Brazil.

    Francis spoke of the effect of the global economic crisis upon the young, who are “at risk” of becoming a generation deprived of work. This deprives them not only of dignity, but “strips them of the possibility of belonging.” “We are used to a discarding culture, all too often with the elderly. But now, with so many young people out of work, the disposable culture comes even to them. We must end this habit to discard!” Against this isolation and exclusion of this disposable culture, Francis called instead for a “culture of inclusion, a culture of encounter.”

    This brief comment encapsulates well Francis’s noteworthy manner of bringing together spiritual questions with structural analysis of the global economy. This is not at all easy to do. The temptation is always to reduce one to the other.

  • Right wing 'generally not happy' with Francis, Chaput says Interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia. National Catholic Reporter 07/23/13.
  • Francis a 'one-man show,' Brooklyn's DiMarzio says. Interview with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, NY. National Catholic Reporter 07/23/13.

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