Pope Francis visits Brazil
July 23rd, 2013
12:47 PM ET

A nightmare day for the pope's security detail

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Copacabana Beach, Brazil (CNN) - Don't blame the pope's Swiss Guards if they had nightmares Monday night. There was plenty to disturb their sleep: a mobbed motorcade, a bomb scare and protesters clashing with police.

When Pope Francis arrived here Monday for World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic event held every few years, the massive security effort was temporarily undermined by a traffic jam.

As the papal motorcade was driving from the airport to the presidential palace, federal officials steered the motorcade into the busiest of several potential routes. As the motorcade slowed, papal admirers swarmed the silver Fiat hatchback carrying Pope Francis, reaching into his open window to touch the pontiff.

A Vatican spokesman said the pope wasn't afraid - but his secretary was.

“The Pope’s secretary told me that when the car was stopped, he was scared at times, but the pope was very happy and waving,” said the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Brazilian officials blamed the mob scene on miscommunication between the city of Rio de Janiero and federal police. Lombardi simply said the motorcade had taken a wrong turn.

Still, the pope’s security team was confident enough during the stoppage that Domenico Giani, the Vatican's chief of papal security, opened the pope’s door and handed him a child to bless.

Once Francis transitioned into the open-topped Popemobile, he moved easily through the tens of thousands who filled the streets of Rio to catch a glimpse of the new pontiff - the first pope to hail from Latin America.

The pope’s regular contingent of Vatican security, including the Vatican police and the Swiss Guard, moved with the pope in the streets, occasionally bringing infants over the barricades to meet the pontiff.

There was a different scene shortly after Francis met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the Guanabara Palace. Protesters - who had promised to be out in force during the papal visit - clashed with police in riot gear.

Police said the protesters hurled rocks at them and they responded with water cannons and tear gas. Six arrests were made and two photographers were injured.

The Brazilian police also said in a statement that on Sunday they had discovered a small homemade explosive device at a shrine to the Virgin Mary in the city of Aparecida the pope is scheduled to visit later this week. The small plastic, duct-taped device was destroyed.

READ MORE: Explosive found near site pope plans to visit

State of Rio de Janieo security officials met on Tuesday to find out what went wrong and how to fix it.

The Brazilian Ministry of Defense said they have deployed more than 20,000 military and police forces to deal with security for the weeklong event.

For the final Mass, in a large field west of Rio, the defense ministry said 400 soldiers will be stationed at the altar and 94 observation towers in the crowds, which officials say could top a million people.

"Logistically, (it is) the most complex event that the city ever faced," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said. "We know that the pope likes to bend ceremonial rules, but that is more than welcome in Rio."

READ MORE: Pope Francis embarks on historic trip to Brazil

On Tuesday, bomb-sniffing dogs and police swept the main stage at Copacabana checking the altar and the VIP seating area. Three small Brazilian navy ships were sweeping along the shore, staggered out for several miles, maneuvering up and down the coast.

The pope was scheduled to rest on Tuesday. The formal program for World Youth Day begins Tuesday evening.

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis

soundoff (473 Responses)
  1. daniel

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable individuals on this subject matter, but you appear to be you know what you’re discussing! Thanks
    daniel https://groups.diigo.com/group/imot-kdce

    July 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  2. EX catholic

    What is this, the Roman Catholic Blog? Like who are they going to fool but themselves. IDOLATRY is not religion IDOLATRY is a SIN

    July 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    July 27, 2013 at 6:38 am |
  4. EX catholic

    Idolatry is not religion people get with it! Idolatry is a SIN a very grave and serious SIN.

    July 25, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  5. M.A.P.

    I've had worse days than that. The Pope's just complaining as usual haha!

    July 25, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  6. George

    What did the Pope do in Brazil? Why are all these articles on Pope's security and not on his mission in Brazil?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  7. Christi

    Why does the Pope need to travel? Can't his bishops in that part of the world convey his message to the local populace?

    July 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Reality

    From an astute blogger as noted a few years ago:

    o “Now Rome which developed the Church of Dogma (rather than metanoia) dared to add things which have scant basis in scripture like the Trinity, Individual priesthood, Auricular Confession, Transubstantiation, Infallibility, Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. None of these are present in scripture nor can they be deduced. Matthew 16:18 was discovered to apply to the papacy by Damasus I who had over a hundred of his rival's supporter's killed to gain the bishopric of Rome. It is after this time that the phrase from Matthew is more and more centered on Rome. The bishops of Rome committed many crimes. The biggest one was to ascribe their malfeasance to the Holy Spirit. Still is.”

    July 24, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Why does the Pope even need security? Can't he just pray and have god and the angels protect him?

    what a crock!

    July 24, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Why do you need air? Isn't there enough in your head already?

      July 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • Athy

        Gee, Bill. That was really cute!

        July 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
      • Doobs

        And you were just bragging about how no one could point out where you used a fallacy.

        July 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • Ted

        DIG IT

        November 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  10. bostontola

    Does anyone know if an evangelical or fundamentalist Christian has ever been awarded a Nobel Prize in science?

    July 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I know of a fundamentalist muslim who won the Nobel prize in physics named Abdus Salam.
      There are a handful (like 6) nobel laureates who are creationists (though certainly not young earth creationists)

      July 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Abdus Salam was certainly devout, but a fundamentalist? Is that too strong a term?

        July 24, 2013 at 10:28 am |
        • Akira

          I'm curious: what is the difference between being devout and being a fundamentalist, Dave? Is it getting back to the basics of their particular religion?

          July 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |
        • FRESH FRUIT

          One must question the severe intellectual deficit of any individual that would actually ask what the difference is.

          July 24, 2013 at 10:52 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          I suppose we're arguing semantics here, but I view fundamentalism as being base on strict, literal interpretation of scripture, in the Islamic case the Quran and the Hadith (although which Hadith you follow depend on which branch of Islam you follow). I also see fundamentalism as being about the legal enforcement of scripture.

          Devotion on the other hand may not be about strict interpretation of scripture or evangelizing, it can be a personal piety. Devotion to one's religious beliefs without trying to force these beliefs on others can be a good thing. There's a certain nobility about un-hypocrical piety.

          July 24, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that


          July 24, 2013 at 10:57 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that


          July 24, 2013 at 10:58 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Depends (Christ there's a lot of typos today).

          July 24, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • bostontola

          I agree, fundamentalist is probably a proper subset of devout. In fact, Salam left Pakistan because his brand of Islam was deemed non-Islamic.

          July 24, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Akira

          Fruit said: "One must question the severe intellectual deficit of any individual that would actually ask what the difference is."
          I was trying to further the conversation by asking what he thought the difference is, since he brought it up.

          It is unnecessary to be a dick to me for doing so. Grow up.

          July 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Akira

          Thank, Dave, that's pretty much how I view it, also; just wanted your perspective.

          July 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • FRESH FRUIT

          Askng someone that is quite obviously not a scholar for information is similar to asking your poodle to describe quantum mechanics. As can be seen from his own misguided internal interpretation of these words, it would appear, and correctly I might add, that he is way off in left field. The game is baseball and he's trying to find a good place to go fishing. You my dear Helen Keller, have agreed with his fishing advice about baseball to be an excellent method of hanging drywall.

          I would provide definitions to the two words in query, however it is clear that the sentences to follow would only be used for making cupcakes from scratch instead of their obvious, intended use.

          July 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • Doobs

          @ Fruit Salad

          You must be really fun at parties.

          July 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • RestonJeff

          Oh, please give us uneducated peons your learned pearls of wisdom and tell us the difference yourself, Professor Pompous. In the most condescending tone possible, please. We await with bated breath.

          What a douche.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          @fresh fruit

          Enlighten us Fresh...don't just make a snarky comment.... prove your superiority.

          btw, Doc is pretty solid on what he says....get to know these posters before you trash them.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • Akira

        Fruit, why does asking someone for their POV offend you so? I was asking for an opinion, not a dissertation.

        Once again, you are being a patronizing dick. All right; you're startling wit and intellectual superiority is apparent. :roll:
        Feel better about yourself?
        Good. I'm glad.

        July 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Akira

          *your. Before Dippy gets me.

          July 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Bippy the new lesser to medium level judging squirrel god

      Fundamentalist is a subset of mental disorder.
      Also see "an'al retention".

      July 24, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        I like your name Sir.

        July 24, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Here's a quick grab from google. You'd have to determine for yourself the level of devotion or fundamentalism each adhered to.

      PART I. Nobel Scientists (20-21 Century)

      Max Planck Nobel Laureate in Physics Protestant
      Erwin Schrodinger Nobel Laureate in Physics Catholic
      Werner Heisenberg Nobel Laureate in Physics Lutheran
      Robert Millikan Nobel Laureate in Physics probably Congregationalist
      Charles Hard Townes Nobel Laureate in Physics United Church of Christ (raised Baptist)
      Arthur Schawlow Nobel Laureate in Physics Methodist
      William D. Phillips Nobel Laureate in Physics Methodist
      William H. Bragg Nobel Laureate in Physics Anglican
      Guglielmo Marconi Nobel Laureate in Physics Catholic and Anglican
      Arthur Compton Nobel Laureate in Physics Presbyterian

      Nevill Mott Nobel Laureate in Physics Anglican
      Isidor Isaac Rabi Nobel Laureate in Physics Jewish
      Abdus Salam Nobel Laureate in Physics Muslim
      Antony Hewish Nobel Laureate in Physics Christian (denomination?)
      Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. Nobel Laureate in Physics Quaker
      Alexis Carrel Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic
      John Eccles Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic
      Joseph Murray Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Catholic

      Ronald Ross Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Christian (denomination?)
      Derek Barton Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Christian (denomination?)

      Richard Smalley Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Christian (denomination?)

      July 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • bostontola

        Thanks Bill. I looked it up, about 60% are Christian. The big surprise is almost 25% are Jewish (even though they are a much smaller percent of the population). I was wondering if any were evangelical/fundamentalist. I was wondering if their beliefs allowed them to pursue advanced science.

        July 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Francis Collins is an evangelical Christian and although he hasn't won it, I don't think anybody would begrudge him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the Human Genome Project.

          July 24, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
        • bostontola

          Thanks Dave, I was not aware of that. I agree those contributions are top shelf. He appears to be a rare bird in his flock. Do you know if he is an evolution denier?

          July 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
        • bostontola

          Interesting, he doesn't deny evolution, from an interview (other evangelicals please take note):

          In your book, you say religion and science can coexist in one person's mind. This has been a struggle for some people, especially in terms of evolution. How do you reconcile evolution and the Bible?

          As someone who's had the privilege of leading the human genome project, I've had the opportunity to study our own DNA instruction book at a level of detail that was never really possible before.

          It's also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming.

          I would not necessarily wish that to be so, as a Bible-believing Christian. But it is so. It does not serve faith well to try to deny that.

          But I have no difficulty putting that together with what I believe as a Christian because I believe that God had a plan to create creatures with whom he could have fellowship, in whom he could inspire [the] moral law, in whom he could infuse the soul, and who he would give free will as a gift for us to make decisions about our own behavior, a gift which we oftentimes utilize to do the wrong thing.

          I believe God used the mechanism of evolution to achieve that goal. And while that may seem to us who are limited by this axis of time as a very long, drawn-out process, it wasn't long and drawn-out to God. And it wasn't random to God.

          July 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          It appears you essentially have the Catholic view on the compatibility of creationist theology with the mechanism of scientific evolution. Are you Catholic? I see that you are a scientist. One of the things we hear is that the political pressure in the scientific community is biased away from religious scientists and towards secular humanist types. Can you speak to that?

          July 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • This Pilot Ain't No Pilote

          Bill, which version of the many, shifting catholic "views" would that be? At least they haven't killed any scientists for a few centuries, anyway. I'll give catholics that much credit, even if it was reacting to the times and adjusting their written-in-stone-by-god rules...

          July 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      William Henry Bragg

      July 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  11. Capricorn

    I thought he was appointed by God.......why does he need security?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:41 am |
    • saggyroy

      For the same reason churches have lightning rods I guess.

      July 24, 2013 at 6:24 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.