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Analysis: Pope Francis uses Latin American trips to recover soul of the Catholic Church

Analysis: Pope Francis uses Latin American trips to recover soul of the Catholic Church

Pope Francis’ fifth trip to Latin America in just five years as pontiff underscores his careful attempt to recapture the soul of the Roman Catholic Church in the region.

During his weeklong travel through Chile and Peru, the Argentine-born pope’s message often has stood in marked contrast to those delivered by his two predecessors, Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II, who also made several trips to the continent once known for and often defined by its fervent Catholicism.

For decades, the church has steadily lost ground — both in membership and prestige — in Latin America, especially in staunchly Catholic Chile and Peru. The sexual abuse scandal, in which priests raped...

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