RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Pope Francis voiced support for young protestors who have taken to the streets to seek change as he addressed two million people in Brazil, recently rocked by demonstrations.
The pope told throngs of young Catholics assembled on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach that he "followed world news" and had seen youths protest "to express the desire of a more just and brotherly civilization."
"The young people in the street are the ones who want to be actors of change. Please don't let others be actors of change," said Francis, who returns to Rome Sunday night at the end of World Youth Day, a young Catholic event.
"I ask you to be actors of change, keep overcoming apathy and offering a Christian response to the social and political concerns taking place in different parts of the world," the 76-year-old Argentine pontiff said.
More than a million protestors poured into the streets of Brazil last month to denounce corruption, lagging public services and the cost of hosting of the 2014 World Cup. The demonstrations often ended in violence.
Hours before his remarks at the beach, the pope addressed Brazil's political, religious and civil society leaders and told them that they should confront social turmoil with "constructive dialogue."
"Between selfish indifference and violent protest there is always another possible option: that of dialogue," he said. "A country grows when constructive dialogue occurs between its many rich cultural components."
He continued: "Dialogue, dialogue. It is the only way for individuals, families and societies to grow, the only way for the life of peoples to progress."