VATICAN CITY —
And then there was Rio.
From the moment he touched down, it was clear change was afoot. No armored popemobile, just a simple Fiat sedan — one that got swarmed by adoring fans when it got lost and stuck in traffic. Rather than recoil in fear, Francis rolled down his window. Given that popes until recently were carried around on a chair to keep them above the fray, that gesture alone was revolutionary.
He told 35,000 pilgrims from his native Argentina to make a “mess” in their dioceses, shake things up and go out into the streets to spread their faith, even at the expense of confrontation with their bishops. He led by example, diving into the crowds in one of Rio’s most violent slums.
“Either you do the trip as it needs to be done, or you don’t do it at all,” he told Brazil’s TV Globo. He said he simply couldn’t have visited Rio “closed up in a glass box.”