Accessibility links

Pope Urges Latin America to Find Unity Through Common Faith

  • VOA News

People raise their hands as Pope Francis blesses them after Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

People raise their hands as Pope Francis blesses them after Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

Pope Francis called on people across Latin America to turn to their common Christian roots as an inspiration to resolve differences when he said Mass for nearly one million Catholics in the Ecuadorean capital on Tuesday.

In his homily, the Argentine pontiff praised the conviction and strength in the "cry for freedom" during the region's independence struggle from European powers 200 years ago.

"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.

He urged the continent's people to use the Gospel "as a way to unite our hopes, concerns, ideals and even utopian visions."

Tens of thousands of people braved wind and rain to camp out overnight. The weather later changed and the service took place under a hot sun.

Pope Francis walks with his pastoral staff to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

Pope Francis walks with his pastoral staff to celebrate Mass at Bicentennial Park in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

The 78-year-old Francis spent Monday holding an open-air service in the southwestern port city of Guayaquil, where he offered both prayers and praise for the institution of families.

"The family is the nearest hospital, the first school for the young, the best home for the elderly," Francis said. "The family constitutes the best 'social capital.' It cannot be replaced by other institutions."

He used the sermon to discuss a major meeting of Catholic bishops scheduled to be held in October, where they will debate a number of controversial issues related to family life, including divorce and homosexuality.

"I ask you to pray for this intention," said the pontiff, "so that Christ can take what might seem to us impure, scandalous or threatening, and turn it into a miracle. Families today need miracles."

Francis held talks with embattled Ecuador President Rafael Correa later Monday after returning to Quito. Ecuador has been hit in recent weeks with anti-government demonstrations aimed partly at Correa's call for increased inheritance taxes.

The pope will leave Wednesday for Bolivia, then heads to Paraguay on Friday.

A large portion of the Roman Catholic Church's 1.2 billion followers are in Latin America, although those numbers have slightly declined due to the rising popularity of other faiths.

Some information for this report from Reuters.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG