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Press review of day 2 of World Youth Day by Sean Patrick Lovett



The Brazilian press reports on Pope Francis' visit to Rio de Janeiro with a wide spectrum of articles ranging from how the people are reacting, how the transport system is bearing up, how the weather is behaving...
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Day Two in Rio was the Pope’s rest day and so the highlight was clearly the WYD opening Mass at Copacabana. Although the biggest news story, according to the major local newspapers, appears to have been the break down in the metro that left many pilgrims stranded on their way to the celebration.
Folha de S.Paulo opens with a curious front-page photo of the Mass at Copacabana, accompanied by an unrelated headline relating to local economic woes. The other headline, “Metro breakdown causes problems for pilgrims”, is self-explanatory. The same daily appears to have some difficulty agreeing on the number of young people present at the Mass: 100,000 – according to a front page article – while, inside, it quotes the more generally-accepted figure of 400,000 . Other articles lament the fact that young people had to wait five hours in line to pick up their pilgrim’s kit…and other well-illustrated pieces comment on how “Young people follow Mass in cold and rain”. An editorial returns to discuss the Pope’s meeting with the Brazilian President on Monday and provides further details of their joint project to help alleviate poverty in Africa. Fear of demonstrations is still on everyone’s mind, so yet another article assures that “Police will block demonstrators from Aparicida”.
O Globo presents alternating positive and negative reports of the day. The front page shows crowds of flustered young people trying to get into a shut-down metro. The vaguely polemical headlines read: “On foot and far from home”…“Rio fails the transport test”…and “Via Crucis on the way to Mass” (with ample photographic proof of the same). In a slightly more positive vein, articles and numerous colour photographs inside, compare last night’s WYD opening event with the annual December 31st celebrations that take place in Rio each year (“Mass at Copacabana recalls New Year”). The paper predicts an overall presence of 2 million people for the main WYD celebrations, with an article entitled “Pilgrims invade city” (an unfortunate – but highly indicative – choice of verb, in my opinion) and admits is it one of the biggest events ever celebrated in Rio. Funnier side-bars note the presence of various pope look-alikes around the city… More serious pieces refer to “A Holy Challenge at Aparecida – threats of demonstrations and bad weather modify security strategies”… And, finally, a front-page cartoon depicts Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, and Pope Francis with the caption: “Mom and Dad”…

O Estado De S.Paulo goes to town (excuse the pun) on its “Metro breakdown causes chaos on first day of WYD” coverage, with comments, editorial and pictures of the same. It also points out that works are still underway to complete the papal Mass site at Guaratiba and that the area risks being flooded by the rain (that hasn’t stopped since Monday) and being turned into a swamp. Even these predictions do seem somewhat alarmist since the weather forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is fine & sunny. Further stories regard security preparations at Aparecida and list sites where confessions can be heard around Rio.
Finally, proof that babies do indeed help sell newspapers, is the number of articles in various dailies dedicated to those lucky infants who have been kissed by the Pope. Most of them have ended up as local celebrities. Proof also that you don’t have to be royal to enjoy your 30 minutes (or was it 30 seconds?) of fame…




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