Popemobile 'speeding', say Paraguayans

2015-07-11 07:04


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Asuncion - Some Paraguayans are complaining that the driver of the popemobile has a heavy foot.

Comments are circulating on social media that the popemobile went too fast, leaving Paraguayans who had waited for hours on Asuncion streets to see Pope Francis only a fleeting glimpse of the pontiff as he sped by.

The Vatican spokesperson, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, said the vehicle travelled at that speed because they did not want a repeat of the delays seen in Ecuador and Bolivia, and that the Asuncion's airport was a greater distance from the presidential palace than in other cities.

Pope Francis received from Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes a national soccer team jersey with the name "Papa Francisco" and a white wool manta woven in the region where Jesuit missionaries worked in the South American country during the colonial era.

"Gifts without problems," said Vatican spokesperson Federico Lombardi with a smile.

Lombardi's comment was a joking reference to the "Communist crucifix," with a carved hammer and sickle, the pope received from Bolivian President Evo Morales. That gift clearly surprised the pope and led to raised eyebrows, though Bolivian officials denied the gift was a political manoeuvre. It had been designed by a Jesuit activist.

In his opening remarks in Paraguay, Pope Francis is giving special praise to Paraguayan women.

Francis met with Cartes in the presidential palace and expressed his "profound admiration for the role played by the women of Paraguay in those dramatic historical moments. As mothers, wives and widows, they shouldered the heaviest burdens."

Francis is referring to a war in the 1860s against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. During the War of the Triple Alliance, an estimated 60% of the country's population was wiped out. Those losses included the vast majority of men, who had gone off to fight, leaving women to move Paraguay forward.

When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Reverend Jorge Bergoglio, as he was known then, often spoke about his admiration for Paraguayan women.

Read more on:    the vatican  |  paraguay

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