Security frustrated, but pope all smiles as frenzied Brazilians swarm papal car in Rio

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Pope Francis shares a word with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a welcome ceremony at Guanabara Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013.  (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Pope Francis shares a word with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a welcome ceremony at Guanabara Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, July 22, 2013. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — After an arrival that frightened aides but made him happy, Pope Francis is scheduled to take a day off in Brazil today for rest and private meeting.

Francis smiled as thousands of people rushed his car Monday after it became stuck in traffic when his driver made a wrong turn on a main avenue in the center of Rio. Other parts of the pope’s route were not lined with fencing, giving the throngs more chances to get close, with uniformed police nowhere in sight to act as crowd control.

As Vatican and Brazilian plainclothes security struggled to keep the crowds at bay, Francis rolled down his window, waved to the crowd and touched those who reached inside. He kissed a baby a woman handed to him.

Vatican officials insist they had no concern for the pope’s safety, but the papal spokesman acknowledged some “errors” may need correcting.

Francis arrived at a tense time for Brazil, as the country reels from sometimes violent protests that began last month.

blog comments powered by Disqus