- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pope Francis on Thursday was taking to the slum streets of Rio de Janeiro, walking among the poor and downtrodden in hopes of shedding light on one of his key messages: It’s the duty of Catholic Church faithful to help those who are less fortunate.

It’s this message that has won him hearts in Brazil, the location of his first foreign trip as pontiff.

But his planned stop in the drug-plagued community of Varghina, a section of the Manguinhos complex, has some wondering – why bother?

“It’s nice the pope is coming,” said Katia Silene, 44, who lives in the community, which is tainted by police abuse, gang fighting and drug users, in the Los Angeles Times. “But what we really need is better schooling and hospitals. My son is almost 10 years old and can’t even read. What kind of school is that?”

Health care, too, is a joke, she said, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Around here, you will see a doctor only if you have money. Without money, you’re dead,” she said.

About 36,000 live in this poverty-filled region of Rio, in the northeast region.

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