Fight for inclusion, save Mother Earth: Pope

A woman holding a puppet depicting Pope Francis, outside the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, before the arrival of the pontiff for a meeting with students and educators in Quito on Tuesday.
A woman holding a puppet depicting Pope Francis, outside the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, before the arrival of the pontiff for a meeting with students and educators in Quito on Tuesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

QUITO • Pope Francis called for dialogue at an outdoor mass in Ecuador's capital, before appealing for better care of the Amazon.

He addressed about 900,000 faithful who braved the rain to hear his homily in Bicentennial Park, Quito - a city recently rocked by anti-government protests. The Argentine-born Pontiff focused his message on "our revolution", the need to spread the Roman Catholic faith.

"The enormous richness of variety... moves us away from the temptation of offers that are closer to dictatorships, ideologies or sectarianism," said Pope Francis, the first Latin American pope.

"Fight for inclusion at all levels," he implored, while pleading for "dialogue" on the third day of a South American tour that will also take him to Bolivia and Paraguay.

Later, in a meeting with social organisations - including indigenous peoples opposed to oil extraction on their lands - he stressed the role the Amazon plays in the "global ecosystem" and said its "enormous diversity" requires particular care.

The Pope, recalling his encyclical last month which appealed for quick action against climate change, called on Tuesday for the Earth to be left a better place for future generations. "One thing is clear, we cannot continue turning our back on reality, on our brothers, on Mother Earth," he said during a meeting with teachers and students in northern Quito.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2015, with the headline 'Fight for inclusion, save Mother Earth: Pope'. Print Edition | Subscribe