The Latest: Pope Lauds Paraguay's Women for Historical Role

Here are the latest developments from Pope Francis' trip to South America:


7:10 p.m.

In his opening remarks in Paraguay, Pope Francis is giving special praise to Paraguayan women.

He is expressing his "profound admiration for the role played by the women of Paraguay in those dramatic historical moments. As mothers, wives and widows, they shouldered the heaviest burdens."

Francis is referring to a war in the 1860s against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. During the War of the Triple Alliance, an estimated 60 percent of the country's population was wiped out. Those losses included the vast majority of men, who had gone off to fight, leaving women to move Paraguay forward.

When he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, the Rev. Jorge Bergoglio, as he was known then, often spoke about his admiration for Paraguayan women.


7:05 p.m.

A lot of tears flowed among the inmates at the Buen Pastor women's prison where Pope Francis made a brief stop to hear its choir.

The 50 women who serenaded the pope with a specially prepared song broke into tears when the people blessed them.

The women inmates stuck inside, however, cried for a different reason — out of frustration. Prison director Ana Coronel told The Associated Press that they had hoped the pope would enter the former convent and visit with them.

She said she told them afterward that the archbishop's office had never responded to her request that the pope go inside.


6:45 p.m.

Pope Francis' apology for the "grave sins" the Catholic Church committed against indigenous peoples in the Americas during the European conquest has been well-received by many native peoples across the continent.

But for Mayan activist Andrea Ixchiu in Guatemala it is pure marketing for the church, coming so many years after the fact. She thinks it's meant to prevent Catholics from leaving the faith in favor of Protestant evangelical sects.

Ixchiu says the church should return to native peoples land it took from them.


5:50 p.m.

The crowd walking back to Asuncion's center from the airport is in high spirits after seeing the pope, singing and chanting "Long live the pope." Many people said they hoped Francis' visit would help improve life for the marginalized.

Vivian Nunez, a 26-year-old psychologist, said she was very moved and hopes for big changes. "Maybe there won't be political change, but human change, in each person."

Housewife Eladia Olmedo said the pope has already changed Paraguay: "They fixed the streets, they cleaned things up. They beautified the city."


4:00 p.m.

Pope Francis is making a brief stop at the Buen Pastor women's prison in Paraguay, listening to a prison choir sing a song specially prepared for him.

The visit isn't on the pope's official itinerary and the choir is serenading the pope outside the facility. The prison houses 500 female inmates, many of whom are detained on drug charges.

Francis plans to rest briefly after the visit then head to the presidential palace to meet with President Horacio Cartes.


3:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is getting a show on the tarmac of the airport in Asuncion, Paraguay.

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