'Rapturous' Reception Expected For Pope In Brazil

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Pope Francis travels to Rio de Janeiro on Monday for Catholic World Youth Day. Host Rachel Martin talks about the trip with Rocco Palmo, who writes the Catholic blog, Whispers in the Loggia.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Pope Francis is headed to Rio de Janeiro tomorrow for World Youth Day. It's actually a week-long gathering for young Catholics held every few years in a different part of the world. The event is meant to inspire and energize the faithful, and more than a million young pilgrims are expected to attend this year. Pope Francis is the first pope from Latin America and he's making his first papal visit overseas. It is to Latin America.

Rocco Palmo writes the blog Whispers in the Loggia. And says Francis can expect an especially warm welcome in Brazil.

ROCCO PALMO: Oh, it's going to be, I think, a triumphant homecoming. You know, even World Youth Day always draws a crowd for the final events in excess of a million.

MARTIN: And I understand Pope Francis will not be using the famous glass-enclosed popemobile to get around in Brazil, right?

PALMO: No, it's going to be open.

MARTIN: Which sends a message.

PALMO: Well, it sends a message. It sends a message of not being afraid. But it also sends a message of wanting to be close to people because, you know, the glass-encased one, you know, it's not like the pope is completely confined, the windows go down. You know, the pope can still kind of stick his arm out. Or if a baby is brought up, can still kiss a baby. But Francis does not want to be confined in the bubble.

MARTIN: And Brazil itself has experienced these huge protests over the last few weeks across the country. People fed up with bad services from the government; corruption; how much the government is spending on big, high-profile, prestigious events, like the upcoming World Cup. Is Pope Francis expected to directly wade into these political issues?

PALMO: Being Latin American, he's deeply familiar with the situation because obviously Brazil shares much of its border with Argentina. But at the same time, I don't think he's going to weigh into it outside of just general principles. When people interpret the church as being political, what it really comes down to is the church speaks about the principles, the morals, but the practicals are for the politicians to decide.

MARTIN: Does this event to give us any idea about some of the bigger issues that Francis wants to engage in during his papacy?

PALMO: I think what he wants to emphasize - because John Paul's was a very mystical sense of theology. And Francis, meanwhile, I think he wants to send the kids out and basically say it's about, you know, being the best of yourself but living out the teachings of Jesus in the way that people can see that in you, that it shines through in you, and that they are attracted to it.

MARTIN: Rocco Palmo, he writes the blog, Whispers in the Loggia. Rocco, thanks so much.

PALMO: Anytime, Rachel.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from