Pope Francis was mobbed by adoring pilgrims and greeted by a gay
kiss-in as he arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday.
In his first international trip, the Argentine pope will be
participating in World Youth Day, a weeklong event that celebrates
the contributions of young Roman Catholics.
An estimated 400,000 pilgrims from around the world have
registered for the event. However, additional crowds – possibly in
the millions – are expected at events which are open to the public.
“Thank you to all of you and to all the authorities for a
magnificent welcome in Rio,” Francis tweeted to his nearly 3
Activists waving rainbow flags and signs which read “In Every
Kiss a Revolution” and “God is [heart] Gay” kissed their
same-sex partners as the papal motorcade made its way to Rio's
Guanabara Palace, where Francis met with Brazilian President Dilma
Rousseff and an official welcome ceremony took place.
Joao Pedro Accioly, a 19-year-old who helped organized the
so-called “LGBT Beijaco,” told
Brazilian media that the goal of the protest was to undermine the
influence of the Catholic Church in Brazil – which is home to 10
percent of the world's Catholics. He said gay rights are rarely
discussed due to the church's influence.
A demonstration to protest sexual violence against women is
expected to take place on Saturday. Brazilian women will march in
suggestive nun outfits as part of a “SlutWalk.”
Francis left the Vatican just as an Italian weekly magazine
accused the newly appointed “prelate” of the Vatican “bank”
of being gay.
scandal rocks Vatican.)