2M faithful attend Pope Francis' last event in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO — 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.
He spoke the language of Brazil's soccer-mad youth, telling them that being a good Catholic is like training to play soccer. Only he added a seemingly blasphemous twist, telling them Jesus offers them “something more than the World Cup.”
In the land of Pele that will host the World Cup in 2014, the joke might have gone over poorly coming from a pope from Argentina, Brazil's nemesis on the pitch.
But the crowd on Copacabana beach for the World Youth Day vigil cheered with delight.
“I'm trembling,” gushed Fiorella Dias, a 16-year-old Brazilian who jumped for joy.
The vigil capped a busy day for the pope in which he drove home a message he has emphasized throughout the week in speeches, homilies and off-the-cuff remarks: the need for Catholics, lay and religious, to shake up the status quo, get out of their stuffy sacristies and reach the faithful on the margins of society or risk losing them to rival churches.
In the longest and most important speech of his four-month pontificate, Francis took a direct swipe at the “intellectual” message of the church that characterized the pontificate of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Speaking to Brazil's bishops, he said ordinary Catholics simply don't understand such lofty ideas and need to hear the simpler message of love, forgiveness and mercy that is at the core of the Roman Catholic faith.
“At times, we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying because we have forgotten the language of simplicity and import an intellectualism foreign to our people,” he said. “Without the grammar of simplicity, the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of his mystery.”
Francis asked bishops to reflect on why hundreds of thousands of Catholics have left the church for Protestant and Pentecostal congregations that have grown exponentially in recent decades, particularly in Brazil's slums.
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.
- Report: Germanwings crash co-pilot tried descent previously
- Former IRA leader shot to death
- Kerry ends U.S. estrangement with Somalia
- Power to expand spy net in France advances
- Houthis fire into Saudi Arabia, civilian neighborhoods in Yemen
- Iraqi ambassador to U.S.: Global rejection of ISIS crucial
- Dozens of bodies found in rubble of popular tourist village in Nepal
- ‘We are hungry:’ Aid reaches epicenter, Nepal toll tops 5,000
- Germans deny helping U.S. spy in Europe
- Italy’s migrant count likely to surpass 2014’s