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Brazil protesters hope for Pope's backing during visit

Young Brazilians who marched in June to demand more funding for health and education are hoping Pope Francis will back their cause when he visits Rio next week. But organizers ruled out a resumption of the street protests during the pontiff's week-long stay to attend World Youth Day (WYD), a major Catholic gathering expected to draw 1.5 million people.

Pope readies trip to simmering Brazil

Pope Francis travels to Brazil later this month on his first foreign visit as pontiff, to a country riven by social tensions and with the highest number of Catholics in the world. On July 22, he will fly into an emerging economic powerhouse in tumult following sometimes violent protests against corruption, the poor public services and the glaring gulf between rich and poor. The 76-year-old Argentinian, Latin America's first pope, has proved popular thanks to his humble manner, personal touch and reformist views.

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.

Pope begins to outline vision for Catholic Church

Pope Francis on Sunday will get a first chance since his surprise election to speak directly to his 1.2 billion-strong flock, outlining his vision for the Catholic Church. The Angelus prayer -- when Francis will offer the familiar sight of a pope speaking to throngs massed in St Peter's Square from a window high above -- has also been an occasion for previous pontiffs to comment on international affairs. City authorities braced for an expected influx of around 200,000 people eager for a glimpse of the world's first Latin American pontiff.

Pope begins to outline vision for Catholic Church

Pope Francis begins his papacy in earnest on Sunday ahead of his formal inauguration mass, with a weekly prayer address used by previous pontiffs to comment on international affairs. The pope's first Angelus prayer, delivered from a window high above St Peter's Square, is a chance for the first Latin American pontiff to begin to sketch out a more global vision for the role of the Roman Catholic Church.

Brazil bishops hail "humility" of resigning Pope

Brazilian Catholic bishops on Monday hailed the "humility and greatness" of Pope Benedict XVI on learning of his imminent resignation due to old age. "We greet with filial love the reasons given by his holiness, sign of the humility and greatness which characterized the eight years of his pontificate," they said in a statement. The German-born leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics announced earlier Monday that he would resign on February 28 due to old age, after just eight years as pope, one of the shortest pontificates in modern history.
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