Both encounters were expected to highlight an issue close to the pope’s heart – care for the planet – which he has only touched on fleetingly since he began his weeklong, three-country South American tour that will take him to Bolivia on Wednesday, and Paraguay later in the week.
Arriving at the shrine, the pontiff venerated the statue of Our Lady of Quinche, and was greeted by Bishop Celmo Lazzari, Vicar Apostolic of San Miguel de Sucumbios, a missionary to Ecuador from Brazil.
Speaking to an audience that included Indigenous Peoples of the Equatorial Amazon, Pope Francis on July 7 renewed his emphasis on environmental stewardship and justice as moral obligations and urged the world’s leaders to face the reality of climate change. But the sun broke out as Francis arrived in his popemobile, with fans tossing confetti on him as he zoomed by.
The pope’s words come at a time of changing religious landscapes across Latin America, including Ecuador and Bolivia, two of the three countries he’s visiting.
Evangelization is not beating down people’s doors, he said, but knocking gently and drawing near to “those who are far from God and the Church, who feel themselves judged a priori by those who think they are pure and flawless”. Upon his arrival in Quito, the Pope said “Progress and development must ensure a better future for all”.
Excited onlookers welcome Pope Francis to Quito, Ecuador from a balcony. Church teaching holds that Catholics who enter into a second marriage without having the first one annulled can not receive Communion.
Morales, for his part, recalled how the Catholic Church in the past was on the side of the oppressors of Bolivia’s people, three-quarters of whom are of indigenous origin.
More than 1 million Catholics turned out for the Mass, organizers say.
“But history tells us that it only made headway once personal differences were set aside”, the Pope told the crowd gathered at Quito’s Bicentenario Park against the backdrop of the Andean mountains on his third day in Ecuador. For too long, people of color have been criminalized and marginalized, and I invite him to speak out against the U.S.’ unjust immigration system that terrorizes our community every day.
Pope John Paul II drank tea made from coca during his 1988 visit to Bolivia, CNA reported.
“Creation is a gift to be shared”, Pope Francis said.
Thousands of pilgrims braved wind and rain to camp out overnight for a Mass given by Pope Francis yesterday in Ecuador’s highland capital Quito. “The tapping of natural resources, which are so abundant in Ecuador, must not be concerned with short-term benefits”, Francis said. Conservatives, including several Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to run for president in 2016, have said the pope should not meddle in scientific affairs.
It was a brief but poignant moment, given Francis’ own experience with the right-wing military dictatorship in Argentina.
Nonetheless, the opposition demonstrations – some of which have turned violent – have continued, in spite of calls from Ecuadorean officials for a national debate on wealth distribution.
The stop in La Paz was being kept to four hours to spare the 78-year-old pope from the taxing 4,000-meter (13,120-foot) elevation; the rest of his Bolivian stay will be in Santa Cruz.
The pontiff told a group of business leaders and indigenous tribes in the capital city of Quito that “the goods of the Earth are meant for everyone, and however much someone may parade his property, it has a social mortgage”.
On Tuesday, Francis will return to the city’s historic center to pray at the famed 18th century Church of the Society of Jesus, a gilded masterpiece of Spanish Baroque that is is on UNESCO’s world patrimony list and is named for Francis’ Jesuit order.