|The Caras celebrity magazine welcome Pope Francis.|
|Le Monde Diplomatique asks whether |
Francis will manage to alter the
Colombian church's conservatism.
But more substantial changes seem unlikely - despite all the anticipation and commercialization.
Francis will visit a Colombia whose Catholicism is declining, both in terms of the number of faithful and in terms of the church's influence. Altho about 79% of Colombians still identify as Catholics - one of the highest percentages in the region - a much smaller number appear to attend church. And evangelical churches are growing rapidly, particularly among the poor, as they are across the region. The Catholic Church has also lost its central role as an institution. The 1991 Constitution transformed Colombia from an officially Catholic to a secular nation. And during the recent, and successful, peace negotiations with the FARC guerrillas, the church did not play the role as mediator it had in earlier talks.
|A demonstrator complains to the Pope that the Colombian |
government hasn't fulfilled its obligations to displaced people.
legalizing euthenasia, abortion in some cases, same-sex marriage and adoption by gay couples. Nor has the nation's Catholicism been able to prevent a world-high 84% of babies being born to unmarried parents.
At the same time, Francis will also encounter extremely conservative Catholics, led by ex-attorney general Alejandro Ordoñez, who reject not only those liberal legal changes, but also Vatican II.
José Galat, the conservative rector of Gran Colombia University, has even called Pope Francis a 'heretic' and claims that Francis 'is paving the way for the anti-Christ.' Colombian church officials have told believers not to watch the university's television channel, TeleAmiga.
|The Pope's visit means commercialism.|
|Readying seats in Plaza Bolivar for the Pope's mass.|
|Want a papal shirt?|
|A sign on a post asks the Pope to oppose Bogotá Mayor Peñalosa and neoliberalism.|
|A rare sight. The Simon Bolivar statue in Plaza Bolivar is free of graffiti and pigeon droppins.|
|A billboard on 26th St. welcomes Pope Francis.|