It is not just the spiritual needs of the people being ministered to in the countries Pope Francis is visiting this month during his tour through South America. While many will be uplifted spiritually from the Pontiff’s presence, he is also hoping to make political peace.
Francis is starting his visit in Ecuador where over a million of the faithful gathered along the highway between the airport and the capitol city Quito. Car loads and party buses filled to the maximum as well as those on foot congregated the avenues hoping to get a glimpse of Francis in his Popemobile. Not even a St Catharines denture clinic can keep it’s patients from travelling to see the pope between appointments.
Francis will also include Bolivia and Paraguay in his itinerary. Three countries that are considered the poorest in South America. His personal ministry has always been to the poor. Known as the Pope to the poor he gives special attention to what society often terms the “throwaway culture”.
While in South America he must also wear the hat of Sovereign of the State of Vatican City. Yes as a “king” he has to dance on the political world stage. He is acting on behalf of the the Roman Catholic Church and also on behalf of the bureaucratic well being of the planet.
He will also be discussing the environment with South American leaders. A need for all countries to take an active role as the Earth’s stewards plays a huge role in the message Francis wants to impart. Taking care of the Amazon and assuring future natural resources affects the entire planet and South America represents a vital part of the overall ecosystem.
Francis will be addressing the responsibility of the mining and oil drilling taking place in areas that impact the poor more than any other segment. He hopes to convey the message of rejecting profits-at-all cost in turn for adopting a more Christian outlook, respecting human rights and putting more safeguards into place for the environment and the culture.
With 79 percent of the people in Ecuador being Catholic and 77 percent in Bolivia and 89 percent in Paraguay, Francis holds some sway. We ask at Progresive Catholic Voice that you hold a positive thought for the influence he has, and keep his efforts in your prayers.
His Holiness will also have to address the problems of errant priests regarding cases of child abuse. An ugly issue that seems to haunt the Church no matter where in the world the Pope visits. The darkness of such unholy acts are not easily forgiven or forgotten by the masses, no matter how hard they try. It was such a betrayal by a deeply trusted organization and not one that may ever be reconciled. While in Ecuador, Dr. James Hamilton, one of the sex abuse victims stirs the pot by publicly stating that the Church’s stance on pedophiles is an insult.
As we have discussed before, Francis has his work cut out for him. This Victor of Christ however doesn’t seem to back down from a challenge. He knows that his influence can make a difference, and it appears he will do all he can to make the impression he hopes will bring about tolerance and change.
What do you think of the Pope’s visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay? Do you know why he didn’t include his home country of Argentina in his travel plans? What would you like to hear as his message to the leaders of South America? Leave a comment below and tell us what your thoughts are.