Pope Francis has concluded his week-long visit to South America with a speech in which he slammed excesses of global capitalism as "subtle dictatorship". In his final address to a crowd of young people in Paraguay, he called upon them to "make a mess".
The Argentinian pontiff addressed the crowd standing on the banks of the Paraguay River on Sunday, as his three-country tour came to an end. "They wrote a speech for me to give you. But speeches are boring," he began, to loud cheers from the audience who had gathered to see him at the site just outside the country's capital, Asuncion.
Continuing off-script, Francis called for young people to look after their less fortunate peers and appealed to them to fight for a dignified life responsibly. "Make a mess, but then also help to tidy it up. A mess which gives us a free heart, a mess which gives us solidarity, a mess which gives us hope," he said to the tens of thousands of young people.
The remarks are the latest in a series of controversial Left-leaning pronouncements from the pope during the trip. Earlier in the week, Francis had branded capitalism the "dung of the devil" that "condemns and enslaves men and women" and had even reluctantly accepted a 'Communist crucifix' from Bolivian President Evo Morales which depicted Jesus nailed to a hammer and sickle-shaped cross.
On his week-long tour, taking in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, the pope has made trips to slums in Paraguay and travelled to the Santa Cruz-Palmasola prison in Bolivia, the largest and most notorious jail in the country, housing 2,800 inmates.
This is not the first time the pontiff, who rose to the highest position of the Roman Catholic in March 2013, has spoken out about controversial topics.
Despite being vocal about his opposition to same-sex marriage, in July 2013 the pope told reporters: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge him?"Try Newsweek: Subscription offers