Pope swarmed by crowds in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO — Frenzied crowds of Roman Catholics mobbed the car carrying Pope Francis on Monday when he returned to his home continent for the first time as pontiff, embarking on a seven-day visit meant to fan the fervor of the faithful.
During his first minutes in Brazil, ecstatic believers swarmed around the closed Fiat several times when it was forced to stop by heavy traffic on the drive from the airport to an official ceremony in Rio's center. A few security guards struggled mightily to push the crowd back in scenes that at times looked alarming. A city official told Globo TV that the pope's driver turned into the wrong part of a boulevard and missed lanes that had been cleared.
Francis looked calm during the frenzy. He rolled down the window on the back passenger-side of the car where he was sitting, waving to the crowd and touching those who reached inside. At one point, a woman handed the pontiff a dark-haired baby, whom he kissed before handing it back.
After finally making it past crowds and blocked traffic, Francis switched to an open-air popemobile as he toured around the main streets in downtown Rio through mobs of people who screamed wildly as he waved and smiled. Many in the crowd looked stunned, with some standing still and others sobbing loudly.
Idaclea Rangel, a 73-year-old Catholic, was pressed up against a wall and choking out words through her tears. “I can't travel to Rome, but he came here to make my country better ... and to deepen our faith,” she said.
Anti-government protesters clashed with police outside a welcoming ceremony for Francis, but the anger was directed at Brazilian leaders and not the pontiff.
The Brazilian military said a homemade explosive device had been discovered at a shrine between Rio and Sao Paulo that the Pope is scheduled to visit later this week.
But when he arrived at the airport, he was met with smiles and cheers.Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vigorously shook his hand after his no-frills charter flight. The pope was handed two bouquets of white and yellow flowers by two adolescent girls, each of whom he kissed on the cheek.
Reaching the end of the red carpet full of church leaders and secular dignitaries, the pope and the president paused to be serenaded by a choir of about three dozen young people singing an anthem linked to World Youth Day. The kids robustly yelled soccer-like chants in the pope's honor.
Francis said he had come “to meet young people from all over the world” attracted by the messages of Jesus. “They want to find a refuge in his embrace, right near his heart to hear his call clearly and powerfully: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations.' ”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama, generals part ways on ground war in Iraq
- Russia’s business world rattled by arrest of oil tycoon Yevtushenkov
- With hours before secession vote, many in Scotland undecided
- Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
- Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
- Aid to Ukraine uncertain as its leader visits U.S.
- 3 troops killed in Taliban strike in Afghanistan
- Nominees for 2 Iraqi ministries rejected
- Suspects in Malala shooting caught
- Chinese protest garbage incinerator
- Poll: ‘No’ leads ‘yes’ in a close Scotland vote on independence from United Kingdom