Brazil unrest won't disrupt papal visit

Pope Francis does not fear that Brazil's social turmoil will disrupt his upcoming visit to the world's biggest Catholic country, the emeritus archbishop of Sao Paulo said in an interview published Monday.

"It is difficult to predict, but we don't believe something will happen because the demands (of protesters) are not linked to the papal visit. They are directed at the government," Cardinal Claudio Hummes told the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.

The pontiff is due to visit Brazil July 22-28 to attend World Youth Day, a major gathering of Catholic youth.

Hummes has expressed support for the street protests -- the country's largest in two decades -- in which demonstrators have demanded improved public services and an end to corruption.

Presidential chief of staff Gilberto Carvalho last week warned that the country should prepare for possible demonstrations during the Pope's visit.

"We must prepare for the possibility that the current demonstrations may continue during World Youth Day," he said.

"The situation is evolving so rapidly that one cannot make predictions, say this will or will not happen. That would be reckless but we must be prepared."