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Prelates reflect on papal-security concerns

Catholic World News - July 24, 2013

With his enthusiasm for plunging into crowds and his disdain for special treatment, Pope Francis has caused anxiety among some Church leaders, even as he has won popular acclaim.

The Pope has refused to travel with a large security detail during his trip to Rio de Janeiro, despite continuing concerns about unrest in Brazil. Although thousands of police officers have been deployed to maintain order during the World Youth Day celebrations, the Pope himself has a relatively modest escort.

As he first arrived in Rio on Tuesday afternoon, July 23, the Pope’s car was surrounded by admirers. While the Holy Father himself clearly enjoyed the close physical contact, others were worried by it. “I love him,” New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan told AP, “and I don’t want another conclave.”

Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Sao Paulo had a quite different reaction, pointing out that “nothing happened” when the Pope’s car was surrounded. The Brazilian prelate cautioned against exaggerating what he called “the psychosis of security.”

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