Droves fill pope’s final Mass on trip
More than 1 million people turned out Sunday for Pope Francis’ final Mass in Peru, giving him a warm and heartfelt farewell that contrasted sharply with the outcry he caused in neighboring Chile by accusing sex abuse victims of slandering a bishop.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who publicly rebuked the pope Saturday for those remarks, joined the pontiff and dozens of fellow bishops on a tented altar at a Lima airfield to celebrate the Mass. The crowd of 1.3 million people reported by the Vatican was the largest of Francis’ weeklong, two-nation visit.
Francis tried to move beyond the scandal Sunday, joking with cloistered nuns that they were taking advantage of his visit to finally get out and get a breath of fresh air. And he denounced a corruption scandal in Latin America that has even implicated his Peruvian host, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who recently survived an impeachment vote by lawmakers.
In his homily Francis referred to the “grave sin of corruption,” that kills the hope of people, urging Peruvians to have hope and show tenderness and compassion.
Thousands lined the streets as his black papal Fiat made its way to the airport, where a children’s choir sang in farewell as Francis boarded a plane to head back to Rome.