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July 23rd, 2013
06:19 AM ET

Pope Francis Makes Low-Key Visit to Brazil

Pope Francis is in Brazil this morning for his first time back in South America since being named the leader of the world's Catholics.

But it's not a trip without controversy.

A small explosive device was found this weekend near a shrine the pontiff will visit later this week. He's also facing growing discontent there within the Catholic Church.

Yet Pope Francis got off to a low key start on his biggest trip yet. He rode from the airport in a silver hatchback, sending the unmistakable message that this is a different pope.

“He drove with the windows down,” CNN’s Miguel Marquez reports from Rio de Janiero “When it came to a stop he was swarmed by pilgrims.”

But many were waiting for the pope’s first public appearance. He took a quick spin around downtown Rio and tens of thousands of followers cheered him on.

There were some protests however.

Gabriel Paulo of the Unified Socialist Party says, "We don't believe our government should spend public money our money in covering the events and security of the pope."

“"Protesters even tear gassed at Rio's government palace," Marquez says. “But excitement over this pope's visit hard to overcome,” Marquez says. “A good start for a man on a mission to reinvigorate the church.”

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Filed under: Brazil • Catholic Church • Pope Francis • World