RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis’ decision to shun a major security detail for his visit to Brazil exemplifies his view of what the Roman Catholic Church should be doing: Go out into the streets. Spread the faith. Recapture the dynamism that other denominations have been using to snap up souls.
Upon his arrival in Rio de Janeiro this week, that philosophy helped produce a defining vignette of his young papacy: The pope rolling down the window to touch the adoring crowds who surrounded his Fiat as his driver and bodyguards struggled to get him on his way.
His call for a more missionary church, seeking out the faithful in the most marginal of places, will get even more traction Thursday when he visits one of Rio’s shantytowns, or favelas, and meets a family inside their home. But while his subordinates may appreciate that message, many are uneasy about the lengths he seems willing to go to deliver it.
“He’s used that phrase that we have to get out to the streets, we can’t stay locked up in our sacristies, we can’t be navel-gazing all the time,” U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in interview Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro.
Dolan, however, expressed concern over Monday’s swarm and said security might need to be tightened for Francis’ own good.
“I love him and I don’t want another conclave. We just finished one so we don’t need him to be hurt at all,” Dolan said.