Home / World News / Droves fill pope’s final Mass in restive Latin America trip – The Denver Post

Droves fill pope’s final Mass in restive Latin America trip – The Denver Post

LIMA, Peru — More than 1 million people turned out Sunday for Pope Francis’ final Mass in Peru, giving him a warm and heartfelt farewell that contrasted sharply with the outcry he caused in neighboring Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slandering a bishop.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who publicly rebuked the pope on Saturday for those remarks, joined the pontiff and dozens of fellow bishops on a tented altar at a Lima airfield to celebrate the Mass. The crowd of 1.3 million people reported by the Vatican was the largest of Francis’ weeklong, two-nation visit.

Francis tried to move beyond the scandal Sunday, joking with cloistered nuns that they were taking advantage of his visit to finally get out and get a breath of fresh air. And he denounced a corruption scandal in Latin America that has even implicated his Peruvian host, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who recently survived an impeachment vote by lawmakers.

In his homily Francis referred to the “grave sin of corruption,” that kills the hope of people, urging Peruvians to have hope and show tenderness and compassion.

Thousands lined the streets as his black papal Fiat made its way to the airport, where a children’s choir sang in farewell as Francis boarded a plane to head back to Rome.

Earlier in the day, he said the bribery scandal centered on Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht was “just a small anecdote” of the corruption and graft that have thrown much of Latin American politics into crisis.

“If we fall into the hands of people who only understand the language of corruption, we’re toast,” the pope said in unscripted remarks.

Francis was greeted by cheering crowds at nearly every stop of his Peru trip, but the cloud of sex abuse scandal trailed him.

“Francis, here there IS proof,” read a banner hanging from a Lima building along his motorcade route Sunday.

The message was a reference both to Peru’s own abuse scandal and to Francis’ Jan. 18 comments in Iquique, Chile, that there was not “one shred of proof” to allegations that a protege of that country’s most notorious pedophile priest, the Rev. Fernando Karadima, knew of Karadima’s abuse and did nothing to stop it.

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