Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 07/23/2013
By all accounts, Pope Francis has already won over many hearts in Brazil with his simplicity and message of caring for the poor. But as he travels the country on his first overseas trip as pontiff, he will be speaking to a group of young Catholics who hold far more liberal views than the church hierarchy on a number of issues, including female priests, homosexuality and abortion.
After arriving in Rio to enormous crowds on Monday, the pope spent Tuesday resting and having private meetings at the Sumare residence where Pope John Paul stayed in 1980 and 1997. Thousands of young pilgrims filled a rainy Copacabana beach to attend a series of religious-themed concerts that were part of World Youth Day, which, despite the name, is a five-day event that began Tuesday and is ostensibly the reason for the pope’s visit to Brazil.
But the young people Francis encounters are not necessarily representative of young Catholics worldwide, and they hold some views that run sharply counter to those espoused by Francis and the Roman Catholic Church.
For instance, 82% of Brazilian Catholics ages 16 to 29 think they should be able to use the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, 72% support ending the celibacy requirement for priests, and 62% believe women should be candidates for ordination, according to a survey published Sunday by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics.