Francis touches the people © dpa
Waiting for the Pope © dpa
At a Mass attended by more than a million people, Pope Francis warned against limitless consumerism in Bolivia. Jesus does not accept this way of thinking, Francis stressed on the second day of his visit to Bolivia in Santa Cruz.
In his open-air homily, Francis opposed a logic that seeks to turn everything into "objects of exchange, consumer goods, everything into things for sale". It aims to "leave space for very few and exclude all who do not produce," the pope criticized. The weakest always "get the short end of the stick".
The occasion of the service was the opening of the fifth National Eucharistic Congress. The real wealth of a society is measured by the lives of its people. He relied on the elderly, who are able to pass on wisdom and the memory of their people to the youngest ones.
To put on his Mass vestments before the service, the pope used a nearby branch of the fast-food chain "Burger King" as a makeshift sacristy. The logo of the chain was emblazoned above the entrance Francis used. The branch was closed that day. During the homily, a gust of wind caused the pope to lose his white crown cap, the zucchetto.
The value of collective memories
Francis went on to call in his homily for the collective memories and experiences of a people not to be simply thrown overboard. Peoples have a memory, a memory that passes from one generation to another. When this memory is numbed, hope and joy are in danger, the 78-year-old said. The result is a sadness that leads to isolation and exclusion of the poorest.
During the service in Spanish, prayers were also recited in the indigenous languages of Ketchua, Aymara and Guarani. Francis had advocated for the rights of indigenous peoples in his welcoming address. On Friday night, German time, he will attend the World Meeting of Popular Movements in Santa Cruz. The speaker there is also Bolivia's President Evo Morales.