RIO DE JANEIRO — Pope Francis wants to ignite the passion of Roman Catholics for their faith while on his first international trip, and the boisterous, sometimes frenzied welcome he got on his first day in Rio seemed to fill those hopes.
Returning to his home continent for the first time since becoming pontiff, Francis smiled broadly as thousands of people rushed his car Monday after it became stuck behind buses and taxis when his driver made a wrong turn on a main avenue in Rio’s center.
It was a nightmarish scene for security officials, but clearly a delight and another opportunity to connect for this pope. The three dozen visible Vatican and Brazilian plainclothes security officials struggled to keep the crowds at bay. Francis not only looked calm but got even closer to the people. He rolled down his back-seat window, waved to the crowd and touched those who reached inside.