Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We shouldn't be surprised - Pope Francis to ditch Popemobile for open air ride through Rio

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis has sent ahead to Rio, open-top vehicles, suggesting he will not ride in the famous popemobile, and instead will ride in an open-air jeep without the protection of bullet-proof glass.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (Catholic Online) - Two Mercedes open-top jeeps have arrived in Brazil, one green and one white. It is expected that Pope Francis will use these vehicles for trips around the city as he visits the world's youth and leads them in prayer.

The decision is consistent with his, "man-of-the-people" image, however it is also a risky choice given the fact that Rio is one of the world's most crime-ridden cities.

The Popemobile is a vehicle with an elevated seat surrounded by a casing of bulletproof glass. The Popemobile was developed following the failed assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II in 1981.

The new vehicles, which has seen limited used before, will now be on full display in Rio as they carry Pope Francis around the city.

[media id="64"]
Pope Francis has reportedly frustrated efforts to contain him by security officials. At Vatican City, he has repeatedly plunged into crowds, blessing people, kissing babies, and shaking hands with visitors. This behavior could potentially expose him to those who would do harm, but so far nobody has dared to plot against the Holy Father.

Or perhaps more accurately, the Holy Spirit continues to protect him for he has much work to do.

In sending open-top vehicles to Rio, the Vatican is placing full confidence and trust in Brazilian security forces to maintain safety.

The risk is also calculated. Brazil is a deeply devout country, and religious devotion even extends into the criminal underworld. This was evident when Pope Benedict XVI visited Mexico and the warring cartels called a truce for the duration of his visit. It is likely there will be some suppression of violence from within despite the nature of the criminal environment.

Brazil has also been rocked by protests of late. These will likely abate as well.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis is expected to visit at least one area slum and will meet with a variety of people. The Pope has a preference to visit the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned.

It should also be clear, that the decision to use open-top vehicles for travel was solely that of Pope Francis.

This year's World Youth Day is expected to attract up to 1.5 million people. Millions more will follow the events on television and online. Catholic Online will also provide coverage of major events and messages that come from the gathering.

Pope Francis is the first-ever Pope from South America is expected to receive an enthusiastic welcome when he arrives in Rio on July 22. The event will open on July 23 and run for five days. The theme for the event is "Go and make disciples of all people," based on a passage taken from Matthew 28:19.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)