Pope begins pilgrimage to Latin America

Pope Benedict XVI departed Wednesday on his first pilgrimage to Latin America.

Pope begins pilgrimage to Latin America
Pope Benedict XVI departed Wednesday on his first pilgrimage to Latin America — a test of the 80-year-old pontiff's stamina and how he intends to deal with pressing challenges to his church in the region.

The Vatican is promising he will deliver a tough message to politicians on poverty and crime during the five-day visit to Brazil — the world's most populous Roman Catholic country — as well as try to strengthen a church battling to retain its leading role in the region.

The German-born pope plans to lay out his strategy when he opens a once-a-decade meeting of bishops from throughout Latin America in the shrine city of Aparecida, near Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America's largest city.

The Vatican's No. 2 official said Benedict will issue a "strong message" on poverty, social inequality, drug trafficking and violence and on the exodus of Catholics joining Protestant evangelical churches.

The May 9-14 pilgrimage will be Benedict's first lengthy trip as pope.

Although he appears healthy and has never missed a scheduled event, he said in an interview last year that "I've never felt strong enough to plan many long trips."

Except for a stop in Turkey, Benedict's travels have been confined to Europe. The only other trip scheduled this year is to nearby Austria.
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2007, 15:33
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