Pilgrims in the thousands greet Pope Francis as he makes his way to a Mass in Ecuador’s highland capital, Quito.
The people of Ecuador took a step in this direction in the fall of 2008, when they became the first country to adopt a constitution that legally recognizes the “Rights of Nature” to “exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution”.
In his homily, reflecting on Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper that his followers would be one so that the world would believe, Pope Francis said that while Jesus probably said the prayer in hushed tones, he likes to think of it “as more of a shout, a cry rising up from this Mass which we are celebrating in Bicentennial Park”.
Marianela Paco Duran, Bolivia’s minister of communication, told reporters Wednesday that Morales had planned to speak 15 minutes when Francis arrived in La Paz.
“I am here to serve”, the pope said, quoting that old priest.
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 ideal”.
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) – President Evo Morales is a huge fan of Pope Francis, and says he couldn’t be happier they are of the same mind that capitalism promotes social inequalities that leave the poor by the wayside.
As he insisted in the encyclical, Pope Francis told the educators and students that care for the environment is not an isolated moral issue.
“The voice of the bishops, which must be prophetic, speaks to society in the name of the church, our mother, from her preferential, evangelical option for the poor”, he said.
Excited onlookers welcome Pope Francis to Quito, Ecuador from a balcony.
More than 800,000 gather in Ecuador to hear Francis” message of “love, peace and mercy’.
Speaking before a group that included indigenous people of the Equatorial Amazon, he also renewed his call for special protection for the area because of its vital importance to the planet’s ecosystem.
Pope Francis lamented situations when a priest or religious abandons the use of their native tongue – especially in Ecuador, where there are more than 20 indigenous languages spoken by the nation’s diverse cultures.
“He is not going to speak out against Ecuadorian oil or Bolivian gas”, the papal confidant said, noting that the encyclical acknowledges a need for a transition period in which fossils should be phased out and replaced by renewable energy. “We, as the church, are truly concerned”, Gutierrez said.
The head of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities, Jorge Herrera, says Roman Catholic Church officials never responded clearly to the group’s request to meet directly with Francis during his three days in the country. 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.
It was a brief but poignant moment, given Francis’ own experience with the right-wing military dictatorship in Argentina.
Francis then pleaded with, even begged, Ecuadorean church leaders to give of themselves freely.
The 78-year-old pontiff, who has only one full lung following an infection he suffered as a young man, appears to be holding up well at the start of his visit despite the 2,800-meter (nearly 9,200-foot) altitude of Quito and a day spent in the scorching sun of coastal Guayaquil on Monday.
The pope was flying to high-altitude La Paz, Bolivia, where oxygen tanks are kept at the airport for arriving passengers who may struggle with the thin air.