Friday 9 December 2016

Pope Francis makes surprise visit to Rome park

Published 24/04/2016 | 21:06

Pope Francis greeting pilgrims in St Peter's Square
Pope Francis greeting pilgrims in St Peter's Square

Pope Francis has made a surprise visit to one of Rome's main parks to participate in an Earth Day event.

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Francis, who wrote an encyclical decrying the exploitation of the Earth's environment and resources often at the expense of the poor, went to Villa Borghese, a park filled with Sunday strollers.

He sat on an outdoor stage along with an Italian priest who has courageously denounced Naples-area mobsters for systemically dumping toxic waste on local farmland in a lucrative, illicit operation often serving legitimate businesses.

The pope told the audience that money has become a god "at the centre of the world".

Press Association

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