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Jul 26, 2013

Despite rapturous reception, pope faces challenges in Latin America

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazilians have given Pope Francis a superstar’s welcome on his first return to his home continent but the big question is whether the trip can help stop the hemorrhaging of the Catholic Church in Latin America.

The first Latin American pope is clearly relishing the enthusiasm at a time when the Church, which once was an unrivalled religious bastion on the continent, is grappling to hold onto faithful.

Jul 26, 2013

Pope scolds rich, demands social justice in visit to Brazil slum

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued the first social manifesto of his young pontificate, telling slum dwellers in Brazil that the world’s rich must do much more to wipe out vast inequalities between the haves and the have-nots.

The pope also urged Brazil’s youth, who have taken part in recent protests showing discontent with the status quo, to keep alive their “sensitivity towards injustice” and be a catalyst in the fight against corruption.

Jul 26, 2013

Crowd of up to a million cheers Pope on Brazil’s Copacabana beach

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued his first social manifesto, calling on the rich to wipe out vast inequalities, and later received an ecstatic welcome from up to a million people on Rio’s famed Copacabana beach.

During a visit to a Rio slum on Thursday morning, the first Latin American pope called for a “culture of solidarity” to replace the “selfishness and individualism” in modern society.

Jul 25, 2013

Pope Francis scolds rich in visit to muddy Brazilian slum

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Thursday issued the first social manifesto of his young pontificate, telling slum dwellers that the world’s rich must do much more to wipe out vast inequalities between the haves and the have-nots.

History’s first Latin American pope, who has rallied the Church on behalf of the poor and who lives more austerely than predecessors, called for a “culture solidarity” to replace the “selfishness and individualism” prevailing in modern society.

Jul 25, 2013

Pope, in Brazil, speaks out against liberalization of drug use

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis took an unequivocal stand on Wednesday against legalization as a means to fight drug addiction and criticized the trend in Latin America to decriminalize narcotics.

In his first public address on the issue, the new pontiff said during visit to a Rio de Janeiro hospital run by Franciscan monks that education was the way to end drug use.

Jul 24, 2013

Pope Francis travels to shrine after enthusiastic welcome in Brazil

APARECIDA, Brazil (Reuters) – Pope Francis landed early Wednesday at a shrine in southeastern Brazil, where he will celebrate his first mass outside Italy as pontiff and seek to energize faithful in the country that is home to the world’s largest Roman Catholic population.

On the third day of his week long visit for World Youth Day, a biennial Church gathering being celebrated in and around Rio de Janeiro, Francis will preach to faithful in Aparecida, Brazil’s most important Catholic shrine.

Jul 23, 2013

Bikinis make way for rosaries on Brazil beach as youths await pope

Rio de Janeiro (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of young Catholics from around the world flocked to Rio’s famed Copacabana beach on Tuesday to kick off a youth festival that will feature several appearances by Pope Francis.

Bikinis and beach volleyball gave way to rosaries and prayers for world peace as youths settled on the urban shoreline for a night of religious events related to World Youth Day, a biennial gathering of young Catholics.

Jul 23, 2013

Huge crowds in Brazil welcome pope back to home continent

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis arrived in Brazil on Monday on his first foreign trip as pontiff and was swarmed by well-wishers as he drove into Rio de Janeiro, where more than one million people are expected to gather to see the first Latin American to head the Roman Catholic Church.

Welcomed by a committee of local dignitaries, including President Dilma Rousseff, a smiling Francis waved to onlookers before proceeding by motorcade to Rio’s city center at the start of a week-long gathering of young faithful in Brazil, home to the world’s largest Catholic population.

Jul 22, 2013

Francis lands in Brazil for first trip abroad as pope

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Pope Francis touched down in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, starting his first foreign trip as pontiff and a weeklong series of events expected to attract more than a million people to a gathering of young faithful in Brazil, home to the world’s largest Roman Catholic population.

Welcomed by a committee of local dignitaries, including President Dilma Rousseff, Francis waved to onlookers before proceeding to a motorcade through Rio’s city center, where local Catholics, visiting pilgrims and the curious were gathered to receive him. The new pope was then scheduled to meet Rousseff and other officials at a government palace nearby.

Jul 22, 2013

Brazil readies for Francis on new pope’s first trip abroad

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – The faithful, the curious and government leaders prepared on Monday to welcome Pope Francis to the world’s biggest Roman Catholic country, as the pontiff travels to Brazil on his first trip abroad since assuming the papacy in March.

Francis is scheduled to land in Rio de Janeiro late Monday, having departed Rome earlier in the day for a week-long visit around World Youth Day, a massive gathering of young Catholics that is expected to attract more than 1 million people to the city and nearby sites.