Security raised to`high risk' for pope in Brazil
A car carrying Pope Francis gets mobbed in the streets of Rio on July 22.
July 24th, 2013
09:33 AM ET

Security raised to`high risk' for pope in Brazil

By Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez, CNN

Rio De Janiero (CNN)– The papal visit is now classified as the highest level of security after an incident involving his motorcade.

The Pope's visit has been raised to "high risk" from "medium risk" after his car got stuck in a crowd of enthusiastic followers on Monday, a Brazilian Federal official told CNN.

The source says the problem in part stemmed from the Pope himself instructing drivers not to avoid the crowds.

After the pope arrived in Brazil on Monday he got into a silver hatchback Fiat for the drive from the airport to downtown Rio. Transportation officials in Rio said there were a variety of routes the pontiff's motorcade could have taken. The route they chose ended up pinning the pope's vehicle between a bus and a crush of well wishers who were reaching into the car to touch the pope.

Security officials in Rio huddled for much of the day on Tuesday sorting out how to resolve the incident.

Federal authorities are now taking a larger role in the overall security of the pope during his time in Brazil. More reinforcements are coming for security from Rio.

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the globe have come to Rio de Janiero for World Youth Day, a week long festival held every two years.

The Vatican told reporters Tuesday night that 500,000 people came to Copacabana beach for the opening ceremony and Mass. Crowds stretched down the beach more than a half a mile from the main stage.

On Tuesday, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told National Catholic Reporter that the group of pilgrims from his archdiocese is small because of security concerns.

"I think there's been a sense across Pennsylvania," he told NRC while in Rio, "that this might be a dangerous place for young people to come."

"I know that a number of dioceses in Pennsylvania actively discouraged their young people from coming and didn't sponsor diocesan pilgrimages on purpose," he said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Pope Francis

soundoff (392 Responses)
  1. Li

    Pope Francis has lived a life serving the people and he continues to do so–as an example of what Christ would do. Christians in general do the MAJORITY of charity in the world, so those who are negative need to consider that without the Church they wouldn't even have hospitals or schools or homeless shelters-things that were first brought about by the Catholic Church.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Doobs

      Right, because no one ever thought about helping the less fortunate before the RCC. They invented charity work.

      July 24, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Hi Li...

      All the New England colonies required towns to set up schools, and many did so. In 1642 the Massachusetts Bay Colony made "proper" education compulsory; other New England colonies followed. Similar statutes were adopted in other colonies in the 1640s and 1650s. The schools were all male, with few facilities for girls.[4] In the 18th century, "common schools," appeared; students of all ages were under the control of one teacher in one room. Although they were publicly supplied at the local (town) level, they were not free, and instead were supported by tuition or "rate bills."


      The Story of the Creation of the Nation's First Hospital

      Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin "to care for the sick-poor and insane who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia." At the time, Philadelphia was the fastest growing city in the 13 colonies. In 1730, the population numbered 11,500 and had grown to 15,000 by 1750 (the city continued to grow and by 1776, its 40,000 residents made Philadelphia the second largest English-speaking city in the British Empire).


      July 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  2. steve

    And the same debate plays itself out for the umpteenth time in the CNN comments section...

    July 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  3. Shakira

    Until the existence of God can be proven or disproven people will believe or not. The fact some atheists on here feel the need to take over a thread about a religious figure is sad really. I am not a Christian at all but this is the most likable, down to earth Pope the Church has seen a long time.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jake

      What are you, the thread nanny? This is a blog about belief, not religion. Feel free to ignore the people that offend your delicate sensibilities.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • Brian

        What are you, the thread nanny nanny?

        July 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • lionlylamb

          More like the nanny's ninny... :mrgreen:

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

        jacked up Jake...

        Your desires to wear a dunce cap is duly noted... My religious belief is contiguously referenced thru my many postings here and your depraved wordage is not a welcoming issue but is unsound cynicism unworthy of reading... Your abusive connotations wreaks of analytical dementia and oozes of delirium...

        July 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          And its LL- from an enormous pile of glass shards that used to be his house, winding up....and heres the pitch!!....Ball 4 ...man that one went wide! .....

          July 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • paul46

      Agreed. I really like this man a lot.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  4. Dave

    Why doesn't his dear and fluffy "lord" protect him?

    July 24, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Alabama Joe

    I hope the pope has a personal confidante who can have a straight talk with him about his personal security. While his "be with the ordinary people" practices are to be commended, he may think that he is truly infallible and not subject to injury or death from all the deranged folks who will now be targeting him. Maybe he has a death wish so he will not have to be pope much longer. If he really wants to continue the mission that he has put forward so far, I hope that he will listen to his security people.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  6. H.B.

    I think it would do these well-wishers, who want to touch the Pope, some good to realize they are compromising his safety, if not his oxygen.

    It would take only ONE ill-wisher to kill him. Is it truly better for you to touch him and risk that, or to step back a few paces, to give him breathing room, and to let his security people protect him adequately?

    After all what good to you is a dead Pope Francis?

    Stand BACK, applaud lovingly and enthusiastically, and throw flowers. Touching him will NOT give you any spiritual reward, but showing your love CAN. Flowers can say that, but so can standing far enough away so that his protectors can insure that he'll go on breathing. Encourage others to do likewise.

    How much can you LOVE this Pope, when you endanger his safety in a mad dash to touch him? That isn't showing love for him; it's just being selfish, because you want to TAKE something from him: a touch. So you can later boast to others that you did it. Love shows itself in GIVING.

    If even I, a non-Catholic, can know this, how can any of YOU good Catholics FAIL to know it?

    What good is it to touch him, when you're making it easy for some nasty person to kill him? What good is he to you DEAD?

    To love him is to participate in his protection, not to interfere with it.

    As an atheist, I realize that evil (the generic kind, not the kind that requires a fallen horned angel), in the form of hateful snarkiness (among countless others), is very much alive and well. I need only read comments here to glean that much. But in light of "what goes around comes around," all of these nasty people here will be "reaping" some of their own venom, in due time.

    I don't hate people. I hate things, like racism, woman-hate, on and on – but it comes down to one thing: All these evils are forms of CRUELTY. Therefore, it is CRUELTY that is my enemy in life, not some particular group. I have to accept that most people feel a need for a spirituality; I don't have to like it. So I accept this Pope as probably the best they've ever had. Therefore, I can rejoice with the Catholics who love him.

    The evil that is quite visible in these comments is cruelty; therefore I detest that cruelty. I also know, as a realist, that such people genuinely LOVE their hates. I can't stop that, either. But I find nothing to rejoice in with haters. They are inadequate personalities, trying to steal adequacy by hating other people. Adequacy cannot be stolen; it can only be EARNED. THEY are pitiful, but the hate they bear is still EVIL, and they still LOVE IT. I can wish them nothing good.

    My best to those Catholics who are loving, and who would HELP their new Pope, rather than take advantage of his proximity, at his risk. So SHOW how much you love him by standing BACK, to help him remain safe.

    If you DO love him, do you think he doesn't know it? So SHOW it to reinforce it. He'll know how to appreciate THAT, too, especially when your love for him includes the element of protectiveness for him. It means you both LOVE and CHERISH him.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Honey Boo Boo

      These religious people rudely touched the pope without any acknowledgment of his safety or comfort because religious people are usually inconsiderate of others, and they talk to an imaginary character named God in their minds which is similar to the behavior of psychopaths. Religious people are mentally insane but apparently it is okay because religiousness is so widespread that their form of mental insanity is regarded as normal. People need to be independent thinkers and not let a religious fairy tale mislead them.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  7. Clamboring for the pope

    If you want to feel closer to God reach out to touch the poor and unloved not the rich and famous.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Dallas

      I think he tries to do just that!

      July 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Li

      The Catholic Church does a huge MAJORITY of charity in the world–and was one of the FIRST to help the poor. Those who wish to see the Pope are aware of what being a Christian is (and help the poor) but the Pope represents Christ's assistant on earth–as the Church was founded by Christ. So it is only natural that Catholics wish to see him. Stop commenting when you know nothing about the Catholic Faith please.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Tina

        Thank you for your response! My thoughts exactly.

        July 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • Doobs

        Oh please. The RCC didn't invent charity.

        July 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  8. nelson jones

    Olaf Big:

    Not to worry. Anyone, dancing on a beach, who is over 9 years old, is safe, from the Roman Catholic Church.

    July 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Athy

      Little girls seem to be immune too.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  9. Jesus Christ

    Talk about a god complex...so the pope thinks he's immune to any danger because he's the supposed mouthpiece of god?


    July 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • John Lubeck

      Ignorant posts such as this one are just that – ignorant, disrespectful, and let's say it again: ignorant. I'm glad to see that others here are labeling people with comments such as this as "trolls".

      July 24, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Shakira

      Or perhaps he feels that being closer to his flock instead of in a bullet proof car is worth the risk to his life.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  10. Phaerisee

    The Church is far more at risk from internal forces than external. Why has it taken fourteen months for the results of the DNA test in the Emanuela Orlandi investigation? When did Church politics become more important than even a single little girl?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm |


    July 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I guess the over 1 billion catholics care. Many non-catholic christians seem to care. A great deal of atheists must care enough to comment on here.
      Since he is also a leader of an actual nation, politicians care.

      That enough for you or were actually not looking for a response?

      July 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Which God?

        Politicians could give a schitt. They pay lip service for the goofballs who believe.

        July 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          amen to that!!!

          July 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lagos


      July 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Shakira

      Go away and stop yelling, your trolling is just pathetic.

      July 24, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  12. USA

    WOW :-)

    July 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  13. Odo

    Nonsense....if the pope and his ilk expect women to risk their health, lives, and livelihood based on "gods will" as perceived by them related to BC and EC...then why not with respect to this as well? Drink your OWN kool-aid Frank..... you don't need security – if you are mobbed or injured then it was "gods will" , right?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    if your finite minds can't conceive infinity, and you need to believe in a very human way that everything must have been created, then who or what created god?

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

      No one created God. That's why God is God. Is that so hard to believe? Don't worry, one day it will all be shown to you.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
      • pmmarion

        God as portrayed by all of the major religions is just that. A figment of mans imagination which was probably boosted by some high grade form of peyote or other hallucinogenic. And I ain't laughing!.

        July 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        but if god has always just been, then why can't the universe have always just been?

        If you can grasp the concept of infinity, then why the need for a creator?

        July 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Their usual cop out answer is that god was always here, but in some other dimension. We mortals are not allowed to know how that's possible, so we shouldn't ask.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  15. Joe

    Mr. Pope...please don't make the same mistake JFK did. Keep security tight and never let it lax.

    July 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  16. diabhal

    NEWS FLASH: A defender of pedophiles is a high security risk! Gee, I wonder why...

    July 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • SeattleBeliever

      ......and when has Pope Francis defended pedophiles? Can you give me your source? Don't tell me just because he became pope he's automatically guilty. That's like saying someone who is black is automatically guilty of causing crime. Bigots all around.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm |


        July 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Lycidas

          Could you perhaps scream a little louder with your caps lock. I don't think everyone saw your inane post.

          July 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • nelson jones

        Seattle Believer:

        Francis, the talking Roman Church Mule, spearheaded the "Sainthood" of Polish Pauly, who, if you believe had no knowledge of church abuse crimes, and who has embraced Benny-the Rat-zinger, refuses to open the internal books of Roman Church, Pedophilic crimes to the secular authorities, so the perpetrators of these crimes can be brought to justice.

        July 24, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Doobs

        Yeah, it's just like saying because Adam and Eve sinned, we are all guilty. Oh, wait....

        July 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  17. joe

    It always seems like the militant atheists are every bit as obnoxious as the militant bible thumpers. Smug, self righteous, intolerant, and hostile. You all deserve each other–who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam

      Oh hush up – the same can be said about both sides. You whining about how other people behave on the internet and making stupid generalizations is a waste of time. Go home.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        So is posting on the inter webs.

        July 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • diabhal

      The great thing about militant atheists is that they don't kill in the name of their non-belief.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • KHS

      Atheists are not religious fanatics. They are rational people. Any danger for the pope would come from a religious fanatic or a crazy person. Atheists don't hate the pope, they just don't take him seriously.
      BTW why does the pope need security? Doesn't his god protect him?

      July 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
      • lol??

        They know how to feel the power of the MOB.

        July 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • Archer

        Ted Kaczynski is an atheist. He's not particularly rational. You paint with a broad brush.

        July 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
        • OhReally

          While Ted's actions were deplorable – he is far from unhinged. He made a conscious decision to use violence (again don't at all agree with him) to try and change what he perceived as a path of unimaginable evil for humanity. Read his work, you don't have to agree with him to understand that the man is very far from crazy.

          July 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
      • desert voice

        The atheists are not rational. A rational person will always bet on eternal life for himself, even if to him it appears that the chances of winning are astronomically slim!

        July 24, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Doobs

          A rational person does not fall for Pascal's Wager.

          July 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jake

      God gave is trolls like you, joe, so apparently he has a perverted sense of humor.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
  18. gus308

    So did any of you other posters here about the pope getting stuck in trafic? and they were concerned about his security?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • nelson jones

      Wow. Moses, who had direct line to the Big Guy, in the Sky, could part the Red Sea, and the Village Idiot, from the Vatican can not even part a traffic jam. Maybe he didn't pay the premiums on his miracles.

      July 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  19. Eddie Vanmeer

    The only ones at high risk in Brazil are currently little kids, with all these dirtbag priests accompanying the pope.

    July 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  20. Olaf Big

    Copacabana beach? Perfect location for a papal address. Will there be rows of bikini clad brazilian girls dancing before he starts? Maybe that was the danger for impressionable young catholics the Pennsylvanian bishop mentioned?

    July 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
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About this blog

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.