VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis said on Sunday that the Catholic Church is “committed” to finding solutions for Latin America’s “serious social and economic problems,” although he noted that the continent has “great human and spiritual potential.”
“The Latin American continent has great human and spiritual potential, harbors deeply rooted Christian values, but is also experiencing serious social and economic problems,” said the pontiff moments before the Sunday Angelus prayer.
He added that “to contribute to their solution, the Church is committed to mobilizing the spiritual and moral forces of its communities, cooperating with all elements of society.”
The pontiff said that during his recent trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, he had invited people to foster “the dissemination of the Word of God ... with the aim of (allowing) the outstanding religiosity of the said populations to always be able to be a faithful testament of the Gospel.”
From the window of the papal apartment, Francis directed his remarks to the thousands of tourists and pilgrims listening to his words in St. Peter’s Square and expressed gratitude for “the warmth” of his welcome during his July 5-12 Latin American tour.
During the month of July, the pope has significantly reduced his public appearances, including the general audience held during the rest of the year on Wednesdays on the Vatican plaza.
Recently, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said that the pope, originally from Argentina, is focusing on preparing for his next international trip – this one to Cuba and the United States on Sept. 19-28.