Recapping Pope Francis’ South America visit
- By Alison Lesley --
- 16 Jul 2015 --
Pope Francis had a history making week in South America visiting Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Pope Francis has concluded his eight-day tour of South America. The pontiff continued to voice his concern for the poor and the environment while visiting Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
On Saturday, Francis told a group of civic leaders in Paraguay that the poor are often sacrificed on the “altar of money” and accused the wealthy of worshipping a new “golden calf,” CNN reports. It’s the responsibility of political and business leaders to ensure that some profits reach the pockets of the poor, he said.
Francis’ statements led some to say that the pope is preaching socialism, but Francis said that his concern for the poor comes from the heart of Christianity.
On Friday in Bolivia, the pope met with prisoners at Santa Cruz-Palmasola, which is the largest and allegedly the most notorious prison in the country with about 2,800 inmates.
On Thursday, he held a speech in Santa Cruz in which he apologized for the “many grave sins” committed by Christians against indigenous people during colonialism. He also said that a “new colonialism” is taking place in the form of corporations and banks, and called the “unfettered pursuit of money” the “dung of the devil.”
On Wednesday, he received a wooden crucifix laid atop a hammer and sickle – the communist symbol – from Bolivia’s leftist president Evo Morales, who seems to have become a number-one fan of the pope. Earlier, Morales said that for the first time he feels like he has a pope. The Vatican originally said that Francis left the crucifix in Bolivia, but he later said that he brought it back to Rome with him.
On Tuesday, Francis held a speech in Ecuador in which he called for a new system of global justice based on human rights and care for the environment rather than economic profits. “The goods of the Earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage,” he said. In a rare way, he also spoke against the abuse of Ecuador’s natural resources.
Francis will visit Cuba and the United States in September. In the United States he will face mostly Republican politicians who have urged him to stay out of politics and stick to preaching.