- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2013

Go ahead — be a rebel. That was the latest message of Pope Francis to Catholic youth, rendered during his visit to Brazil for the church-backed World Youth Day event that gathers thousands of faithful from around the world.

Specifically, the pontiff told young Catholics on Thursday and Friday to shake up the church a bit and make a “mess” within their respective dioceses by spreading the faith in the streets, The Associated Press reported.

The pope — on his first foreign trip since becoming pontiff — has done just that, taking to the streets of Rio de Janeiro and reaching out to some of the country’s most downtrodden and poverty-stricken, solidifying his nickname as the “slum pope” in the process.

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On Thursday, he visited shantytown Varginha, a community known for drugs and violence — called the Gaza Strip by those who deal with its daily crime.

On Friday, he’s scheduled to meet with convicts and then will take confessions from youthful Catholics, AP reported.