Pope demonstrates true Christian values
If there was any doubt about Pope Francis' intention to emphasize social justice during his papacy, he eliminated it on his inspirational visit to Brazil.
At his insistence, his schedule included a visit to a deeply impoverished Rio de Janiero shantytown, Varghina, which is known there as the "Gaza Strip" for its poverty and violence. More than 1.2 million people, about 20 percent of Rio's population, live in such slums.
"The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty," Francis declared at Varghina, directly addressing the Brazilian government.
Brazilians have conducted massive protests in recent weeks over the government's failure to address pressing infrastructure and social service needs while spending billions of dollars on facilities and security as the host for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 summer Olympics. The case seemed to be made when mechanical problem closed a major subway, stranding thousands headed for a papal mass at Copacobana Beach, and when the pope himself was stuck in a traffic jam.
Thousands of young Catholics from around the world were in Brazil for World Youth Day, and the pope spoke their language, urging them to fight for social justice in their homelands.
Pope Francis clearly demonstrated that his papacy will be one of outreach taking on the powerful in the cause of the needy. He is off to a flying start in his mission to reinvigorate his church from the grass roots up, rather than from the top, down.