In each country on his trek, Francis spent time in marginalized neighborhoods, bringing a global spotlight to the crushing poverty that he says is too often ignored.
Francis is now in Paraguay, where he’s set to spend three days for the last stop of his South America tour.
He also made a quick surprise visit to a clinic for the terminally ill.
From Banado Norte, the Pope went to hold a mass for more than a million people in a disused air base. He drew cheers in Banado Norte on the banks of the River Paraguay by saying he couldn’t have left Paraguay without visiting, “without being on your land”. The pope appeared to directly address the issue. “It’s an error of mine not to think about this”. “I always ask for miracles for her”, said Rojas, referring to her daughter, who smiled shyly but couldn’t speak.
Pope Francis has dedicated his papacy to the plight of the poor and delivered severe critiques of economic systems that benefit the rich. But flying back to Rome from his eight-day visit to Latin America, Pope Francis admitted he had overlooked a group.
Neighbour Silvia Sanchez told AFP: “I just hope that after this visit, the government will provide the assistance needed here”. 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.
A firm trust in God, he said, is learned within a family and within a community that has experienced the transforming power of God’s grace and knows it is called to share that grace with others.
“I prayed about this”, the pope told reporters.
Thousands had travelled from neighbouring Argentina including President Cristina Kirchner for the pope’s final mass in Paraguay.
Still, by all accounts, the Pope is going strong, something that was observed during his January trips to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
On Saturday, the 78-year-old pontiff decried the scourge of corruption as the “gangrene of a people”.
Wealth creation should not be “only for the benefit of a few”, he said Saturday, and must be extended to “each citizen, without exclusion”.
The Associated Press reports that Francis asked politicians and others in power “not to yield to an economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit”.
In passionate speeches, the Argentine pontiff urged the destitute to change the world economic order and branded the unfettered pursuit of money as the “dung of the devil”. He did fly through Argentine airspace en route from Bolivia to Paraguay -the closest he’s been to home since his 2013 election.
“I wish to pay tribute to the many ordinary Paraguayan people, whose names are not written in history books but who have been, and continue to be, the real protagonists in the life of your nation”, the pope said July 10 during the evening reception at the presidential palace.
“The process with the United States was not mediation, had no basis for mediation”.