News / Europe

Pope to Shun Bullet-Proof Vehicles During Brazil Trip

A banner promoting World Youth Day is seen at the Chapel of Sao Jeronimo, where Pope Francis is expected to visit during his upcoming trip to Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, July 16, 2013.
A banner promoting World Youth Day is seen at the Chapel of Sao Jeronimo, where Pope Francis is expected to visit during his upcoming trip to Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, July 16, 2013.
Reuters
Pope Francis will not use bullet-proof popemobiles on his visit to Brazil next week to allow him more direct contact with crowds despite the security risks, the Vatican said on Wednesday.
 
The Argentine pope, who arrives in Brazil on Monday for his first trip outside Italy, will use the same open-top jeeps he has preferred to use during his general audiences in St. Peter's Square to enable him to reach out and touch people.
 
“He feels that for him, communicating directly with the people is better that way,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told a news briefing. “He decided to do it this way because it is a continuity with the way he does it here.”
 
The Vatican has a fleet of bullet-proof, glass-topped, air-conditioned vehicles for use by popes traveling outside Rome.
 
They were introduced after Pope John Paul II was nearly killed on May 13, 1981 when Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca shot him while he was riding in an open jeep in St Peter's Square.
 
Francis will spend a week in Rio de Janeiro to preside over the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth, a gathering sometimes dubbed a “Catholic Woodstock” that occurs in a different city every two years.
 
He will also visit the poor in a favela and meet young prisoners.
 
Francis, who has said he wants to make concern for the poor a hallmark of his papacy, will visit the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro on the fourth day of his trip to the world's largest Catholic country.
 
The Vatican said he will walk along the streets of the shantytown and enter at least one home before he addresses the entire community in a sports field.
 
On July 24, he will fly by helicopter to the city of Aparecida, about 240 km (150 miles) southwest of Rio de Janeiro, to visit the national shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, whom the Church honors as the patroness of Brazil.
 
Lombardi said Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff had invited other Latin American presidents to Brazil to pay tribute to the region's first pontiff during the papal trip. The spokesman said he did not know which of them had accepted the invitation.
 
The pope also plans to address Brazil's political and business leaders during his stay.
 
The visit to Brazil is expected to be the only one abroad for the pope this year. The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is expected to visit his homeland early next year.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More