Pope makes difficult trip to Chile and Peru

What happened?

Pope Francis has travelled to Chile, where he faces challenges including a hostile population and the aftermath of an abuse scandal. He arrived in Monday for a visit which will include meetings with political and religious leaders and a visit to the shrine of Majpu. From Thursday to Sunday he will be in Peru. On Monday’s flight, the Pope handed journalists a photograph of a boy in Nagasaki carrying his dead brother to a crematorium, as a warning about nuclear war.

What secular media are saying

In the Pope’s 22nd overseas trip, said the BBC’s Eva Ontiveros, he will “meet an unprecedented degree of hostility on his native continent”. No Latin American country has a lower view of the Church. The visit is seen as a waste of money, and there is still widespread dismay at the Church’s treatment of Fr Fernando Karadima, a priest eventually found guilty of child molestation. “Pope Francis has made clear his ‘zero tolerance’ for abuse, but his appointment of one of Fr Karadima’s protégés – Juan Barros – as the bishop of Osorno in southern Chile has reopened old wounds.”

But the trip will emphasise social justice, said The Economist. “Some Catholics hope that young people will find Francis’s environmentalism, modest lifestyle and open manner attractive.”

What Catholic media are saying

At Crux, Inés San Martin noted that Francis would “deliver 21 homilies, speeches, greetings and prayers, addressing several of the issues closest to his heart: the plight of indigenous peoples and migrants, popular religiosity, and protection of the environment.” Chile is recovering from an “extremely polarised” election, while Peru is vehemently debating a recent presidential pardon on medical grounds for former president Alberto Fujimori, who had been imprisoned for human rights violations.

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