The Pope continues his global plea for economic fairness and action on climate change — and he’s taking the message to three countries where those issues are starkly visible. On a trip that takes him near his home in Argentina, Pope Francis will visit Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. CNN quotes a Jesuit professor from Argentina who teaches at Boston College, Rev. Gustavo Morello, who calls these three “the forgotten countries.” In his study, which focuses on Catholics in Latin America — a part of the world historically plagued by economic injustice and dictatorships — Morello asks: “How did Catholics deal with Latin America’s injustice? Why did some of them join revolutionary armies? Why did others help dictatorships to crush their fellow Catholics?”
Morello specializes in the “relation between religion and the public sphere.” That’s the Pope’s ground, too, as Pope Francis has called out governments and global corporate powers to usher in change — both fast and lasting. Morello studies the secularization of Latin America, once home to almost 40 percent of the world’s Catholics. Both Morello and the Pope see that Latin Americans have been leaving the church, which hasn’t offered people adequate help in combating poverty and the social ills that come with it. The Pope will give 22 speeches in 8 days. He will be greeted joyfully by millions in Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay, but his challenge is to find a way to make his message take root and grow into actual change once he goes.