Busy Pope Running Staff Ragged

Francis hits beach, then visits Rio slum on foot

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2013 8:23 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis may be 76, but that's not slowing him down: He's maintaining a schedule so busy—and getting busier—that aides are struggling to keep up, the AP reports. Yesterday, for instance, he had a full day planned in Brazil, then added two extra events, including a morning mass and a cathedral meeting with pilgrims. Vatican workers are "stressed out" by the pope's schedule, but that's not a bad thing, says rep Rev. Federico Lombardi. Still, "I'm happy we're halfway through (the trip), because if it were any longer, I'd be destroyed."

Indeed, bad weather can't stop the pontiff as he celebrates World Youth Day. Yesterday saw him visiting Rio's Copacabana beach, where he was joined by some one million pilgrims despite rain beforehand, the BBC reports. That was after his visit to the slum of Varginha, where he walked on foot, the Telegraph notes. There, he called on residents not to lose hope despite corruption, as he slammed a "culture of selfishness and individualism." "No amount of peace-building will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins, or excludes a part of itself," he said, per the Guardian. "Our community was forgotten for a long time," a local carpenter told NBC News. "I hope with the pope's visit we can have some improvement."

A gust of wind lifts the cape of Pope Francis as he speaks to the youth gathered at the World Youth Day Welcome Feast on the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Stefano Rellandini, Pool)
Pope Francis greets pilgrims from the stage of the World Youth Day Welcome Feast on the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, July 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Stefano Rellandini, Pool)
Pilgrims listen to Pope Francis during a World Youth Day celebration on the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday July 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis prays with Argentine youths in the Cathedral in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope Francis waves from his popemobile as arrives for a World Youth Day celebration at the Copacabana beachfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday July 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
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