Like a Rock Star, Pope Francis Calls For “Disorder” In Rio

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Stefano Rellandini / Reuters

Pope Francis greets Catholic faithful during his arrival at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, July 25, 2013.

The Pope keeps shaking things up in Rio. From the moment he arrived on his visit to Brazil, the Pontiff has been traveling with the car windows down to be closer to the people. Then he shed his security detail and bulletproof car when visiting the slums and shantytowns. Now he is calling for young men and women to stir up trouble in their dioceses—on purpose. The message he gave a gathering of 30,000 young Argentines in Rio yesterday was so revolutionary he apologized to the bishops in advance for its implications:

 What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! […] I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!

If his message sounds almost evangelical in tone, it is because it is. Pope Francis wants young Catholics to spread the gospel, to evangelize, and to focus on relationships, especially with the poor. His message is on de-centralizing Vatican power, and getting the gospel message, literally, into the streets. The theme has been prominent throughout his young papacy, and even earlier. As Cardinal of Buenos Aires, he spoke out against the temptation of clericalism. “When the Church does not come out of itself to evangelize,” he said, “it becomes self-referential and then gets sick.”

More than one million people came to hear him preach last night at Copacabana Beach, and his sermon itself had an evangelical tone. He used classic evangelical language about becoming Jesus’ friend and responding to Jesus’s invitation for salvation. The optics themselves were far more like a theatrical evangelical set up than a traditional Vatican mass. Francis arrived by helicopter. Blue and pink lights flooded an enormous stage. A giant cross—without a Christ’s body—hung front and center.

The evangelical emphasis is not simply an effort to redirect the evangelicals and Pentecostals in South America, where they are exploding in shantytown and slum areas, back into the Catholic fold. It is also a testament to the evangelical flavor much of Catholicism has been adopting in the region, from changing liturgies to singing pop hits in mass. Catholicism, Francis knows, is at a historical precipice for change, and he is trying to push it over the edge on behalf of those society marginalizes.

Francis himself is a living witness of the message of change he is preaching. On Wednesday he visited a recovering drug addicts in the City of God slum, or favela, and criticized political plans for drug legalization. “It is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future,” he said. Today he is devoting time to hearing confessions because he wants to emphasize God’s forgiveness. It is a pattern of papal humility he established as soon as he was elected, from forgoing the pope’s traditional palace for more austere accommodations to visiting incarcerated women and washing their feet.

And the public continues to treat him like a rock star for it.

35 comments
AnnThomas
AnnThomas

His Holiness the Pope is right, the church has become isolated to its members and therefore are losing it religious followers. This Pope will bring the church back to it real true reason for its existence.

ZacPetit
ZacPetit

I am frustrated that the politics section is filled with news concerning religious leaders today. Please create a "Religion" section and leave it out of my news. Thanks.

brasszil
brasszil

"a gathering of 30,000 young Argentines in Rio yesterday". Rio is located in Brazil. I believe Argentines were there, but not 30,000... Please, leave Kansas and learn geography...The planet is more than North America....

vatonaught
vatonaught

why no stories on the bomb plot?

FedjkCabce
FedjkCabce

When you learn to have faith and trust the Lord Your God with all your heart, you will get the answer to this question and to many more.   We who live in this broken world want it our way and at our time, but that is not how it works for God; it's his way and at this time.  It does not matter if we live in materialistic misery, filth and despair of material things because many have true richness of spiritual grace and love which surpasses all material needs or suffering or human understanding.For those that have not learned to trust God, have faith in God and follow God, it's tough to understand many things, but when you open your heart, you trust and you  follow his path, you will feel a  Peace, Joy and Love for God and all your brothers in sisters in this broken world that will surpass all human earthly understanding, it’s an unimaginable peace and spiritual liberation that you just can't describe it to others, but first you need to fall on our needs, believe in him, have faith in him, trust him and place all of your burdens in his hands so he can open the path of Joy and Love for us and ultimately Peace (an incredible peace), but it will be his way not ours.  

balkan69
balkan69

If there was God he would not have allowed millions to live in misery ,filth and despair.

I still cannot understand how people believe I fairy tales..

Channah
Channah

If they want to help the poor-------great for them.   But, the evangelical part I disagree with.  I do not believe in having religion pushed down people's throats.

Also, if there are so many poor, why doesn't the Catholic church get rid of some of their wealth to help the poor?

littleflower1
littleflower1

Bravo Time magazine for writing a positive article about the Catholic Church!  I would love to see the Pope on your cover in the US.  

Hermione
Hermione

The Pope needs to spend less time playing politics, and more time helping the poor and oppressed.

As far as the drug legislation, let Brazil legalized marijuana.  It is not up to the government to ban natural growing plants.  It is not up to the government to ban birth control either - the church needs to gets back to being a church instead of another political think-tank.

sccatholic
sccatholic

Elizabeth Dias: you misinterpreted what the Holy Father said. He did not call for "disorder"  as your headline inaccurately states. You also wrote:

What is it that I expect as a consequence of World Youth Day? I want a mess. We knew that in Rio there would be great disorder, but I want trouble in the dioceses! […] I want to see the church get closer to the people. I want to get rid of clericalism, the mundane, this closing ourselves off within ourselves, in our parishes, schools or structures. Because these need to get out!

What Pope Francis ACTUALLY said was:

Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise.  Here there will be noise, I’m quite sure.  Here in Rio there will be plenty of noise, no doubt about that.  But I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves.  The parishes, the schools, the institutions are made for going out ...

One the plane from Rome to Rio the Pope spoke to the media about "a throwaway culture" that is done today with the aged and with the young due to the high unemployment statistics for youths in Brazil. He fears that we are creating a generation that has never worked, due to the economic crisis in many countries.

Keep speaking the truth, Pope Francis. We love you.

rrcampbe
rrcampbe

This is great, though the Catholic Church has been leading from the rear, Francis appears to be a visionary who is taking charge and making the changes necessary for the church to have any relevance. Now if he tackles the celibacy issue I will be a fan for life!!! 

theatercritic
theatercritic

in HOLLYWOOD playwright Larry Myers has been researching rock icon Janis Joplin

the peripatetic/prolific/kooky playwright (called this by NEW YORK POST PAGE SIX CELEbrity Page) even slept in room Joplin died in at old Landmark Hotel

on Franklin    it is a haunted locale   in San Francisco Dr Myers created a mini-vigil at the recreation of St Francis of Assissi s domicile/chapel in North Beach as

his other work-in-progress is "POPE FRANCIS SKETCHBOOK" & its theme reflects the radical thrust of the Rio visit

In the drama a group of actors face a closing theater space.........their disdain is met with surprise visitors------lapsed Catholics demanding voice

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

As a Catholic I have to say I am, with caution, liking Pope Francis. 

His "populism" is in keeping with what the Church should be and more importantly he seems to be keeping both a distance from the calcified Vatican and letting it be known that a housecleaning is coming.

Again, I am cautious but optimistic. Time will tell. 

rtt_ddtag
rtt_ddtag

Love to see the young people gathering from all parts of the world to share the Word of the Lord. God bless them and the Pope Francis and all the clergy involved in the event. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

I like this guy and I'm not even Catholic. He talks the talk and walks the walk. It's good to see a religious leader with clout that don't spend every single minute dressed in nice suits and attacking homosexuals and talk about abortion.

Sure, I do understand it's still part of something he have talked about in the past - but it seems to be on the afterburner for Pope Francis - on the front burner are the very things Jesus mentioned in the Bible.

May he live long to see the church turn their resources towards a worthy mission.

MotherofFive
MotherofFive

Very nice article. Thank you. 

But please correct video caption: Pope Francis has not yet celebrated Mass on Copacabana Beach. Last night was a welcome ceremony. Sunday comes Mass in the same location....

stephengreen736
stephengreen736

It's great to see this kind of coverage from mainstream media, as we catholics are witnessing a miracle in progress. instead of a Church mouthing platitudes, Pope Francis, like his namesake, is a mover and a shaker. We are blessed to have him..

sacredh
sacredh

Pope: Hello Rio! Are you ready to ROCK??!!

quixoticch
quixoticch

@brasszil There were probably more than 30.000 argentines in Rio and three million young people at the mass on Sunday (writing from Buenos Aires)

MARYPOTZER4282
MARYPOTZER4282

@balkan69 Try to understand that it is not God who creates or allows these conditions. We have free will.  It is the lack of faith in Him, our greed and selfishness that allows them.  God allowed His own Son, Jesus, to die a horrible death to bring salvation to all from the slavery of sin and to give us Eternal Life.  This is no fairy tale - This is real! Seek and you will find.

MARYPOTZER4282
MARYPOTZER4282

@Channah We all should try to help the poor, not just "they".  Why doesn't everyone get rid of their wealth and help them?  Instead of seeing the speck in others' eyes, notice the planks in our own eyes!  We think "others" should do something about "our" problems.  It all begins with "me"!  We cannot change others, but we can change ourselves.

FedjkCabce
FedjkCabce

Channah, It's not pushing religion down people’s throats, it’s helping others feel the Joyful light and love of our Great God of this universe.  Those of us that have gone through many trials in life and have develop this special relation with God, because of the same trials we have gone through, want to share a little of that Peace/Joy with our brothers and sisters in this world. Helping the poor is the Job of all, feeding the stomach, providing basic necessities and feeding the spirit...Trust, Trust, Trust

littleflower1
littleflower1

@Channah

Most objections about the Church’s alleged wealth is in regard to the art in the Vatican. Most of the art represents the work of Christians who wanted to place their talents at the service of God through the Church. The artwork is an example of their religiosity and is not for sale. Had the Church not preserved the art, much of it would have been destroyed through the ages. Such art is part of our heritage as Christians and indeed as human beings, and few people of any persuasion who appreciate such world culture would truly prefer that these treasures have been put into the control of secular commerce.

In Matthew 26:6ff we read,

A woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For the ointment might have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me."

Likewise, many of the great cathedrals of Europe were built with donations and labor from the poor, who wanted to build such monuments to God’s goodness and sovereignty. The Vatican does not control enormous liquid wealth, and its annual operating budget has been compared to that of a large archdiocese such as that of Chicago.

In spite of this, the Catholic Church is still one of the most giving institutions on earth, running and supporting countless charities, relief organizations, hospitals, and similar enterprises at great cost to the Church.

-----catholic.com

MARYPOTZER4282
MARYPOTZER4282

@Hermione Be careful about judging others - you will be judged the same way.  The Pope is doing what he is supposed to do! Are you trying to bring someone to the Life and Love of Jesus and the Gospel?  Are you trying to help someone in need?  It all begins with our choices.

TobyKinnear
TobyKinnear

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Channah
Channah

@lindylinda985 LOL!  As I am sure you said this-tongue in cheek-the GOP doesn't give a hoot about the poor.

ShawnArscott
ShawnArscott

@WithGodAsMyWitness  This is a very peculiar way to describe a Pope.  We now have economists, like MArk Carney, who are described as "rockstars", Osama bin LAden - described as a "rock star" of terrorists. Just because one has the attention of millions of people does not mean that what the person is doing is right.

sacredh
sacredh

There was no description. The Pope is a rock for the faithful and an example to be emulated. Commandos often say "let's Rock!" when going into battle. The Pope's battle is to save souls and lead the church and the faithful back to the pathway of redemption.

MARYPOTZER4282
MARYPOTZER4282

@Channah @sacredh People cannot be good on their own unless God be with them.  Why are there so many who are trying to destroy goodness?  These kind of people do not receive their actions from goodness, so it can only come from hate and darkness; in other words - evil.

sparrow
sparrow

This pope has not said anything about fires in hell or being in paradise. The people he scares more are the old guards in the Vatican, and the rich faithful who are now getting uncomfortable about sacrificing their privileges. What is clear is he is leading the church into uncharted territory, like some general on the road to conquer. He is a Jesuit after all, trained to counter the reformation, with all the intellectual, tehnological and marketing tools he could muster.

Channah
Channah

@WithGodAsMyWitness Saving souls and redemption is the church's way of controlling the masses-always has been and always will be.  Scare people into behaving.  Why can't people be good on their own, or with any other religion?  A person can be a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, etc., and be a good person.  Scaring people with heaven/hell is no way to be.