Pope Francis visited the Varginha favela on Thursday and spoke about the troubles and inequalities of the world and told leaders to do a better job of helping the people who suffer in poverty.
The comments from the first Pope of the Americas are what he holds closest to his heart, social justice and reaching out to the poor.
“No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world!” he told to the crowd in the Varginha slum.
“Public authorities and those in possession of greater resources must never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity!” he told the enthusiastic crowd.
The lack of basic services like education and healthcare created enormous protest last month in Brazil. The people are upset over government corruption and excessive state spending related to the Soccer World Cup.
Pope Francis’ tendency to ignore safety rules and logistics was a nightmare to his security team, moving around in the poor and violent favela which has narrow streets and is essentially in ruins was difficult while the crowds admiring him are considered unpredictable.
“The most humble can offer the world a lesson in solidarity,” the pope said.
“Here, as in the whole of Brazil, there are many young people…. You have a particular sensitivity toward injustice, but you are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good,” Pope Francis said in Portuguese.
“To you and to all, I repeat: never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change.”
“We were a little worried how this would go, but it was better than we could have imagined, said Varginha resident Rosane Paulino dos Santos, a wedding florist and church volunteer. How can we explain a blessing like this? … He knows how to speak to the young, and with the less fortunate.”
Pope Francis is a highly educated Jesuit who turned archbishop with a modest lifestyle and frank tone and is seen as the humble pope who likes simple living; a radical change from previous pontiffs.
He spoke about atheists: “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” the pope told worshipers at Vatican morning Mass on Wednesday. “‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”
Pope Francis also said: “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Written by Edgar Soto