Pope Draws 3 Million in Brazil

    Pope Francis blesses a child from his popemobile as he arrives for a vigil with pilgrims in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, July 27, 2013. Francis will preside over an evening vigil service on Copacabana beach that is expected to draw more than 1 million young people. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

    Jorge Saenz/AP

    Pope Francis drew a crowd of three million in Brazil for his final Mass in the country on Sunday, calling on bishops to reflect on why the church’s population has declined. In Brazil, the world’s largest Catholic country, the church’s population has dipped from 125 million to 123 million between 2000 and 2010, with the percentage of the Catholics in the country dropping from 74 percent to 65 percent. “Perhaps the church appeared too weak, perhaps too distant from their needs, perhaps too poor to respond to their concerns, perhaps too cold, perhaps too caught up with itself, perhaps a prisoner of its own rigid formulas,” Francis said. The pope is in Brazil for World Youth Day.  

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