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Famous Rio beach packed for papal visit

by staff reporter

A huge crowd gathered on Rio de Janeiro's world famous Copacabana Beach has given Pope Francis a rapturous welcome.

He presided over a welcoming ceremony on the beach for World Youth Day, his first official event with the hundreds of thousands of young people who have flocked to a rain-soaked Rio for the Catholic youth festival.

Earlier, he visited one of Rio's most violent shanty towns and demanded the world's wealthy end the injustices that have left the poor on the margins of society.

Francis blasted what he said was a "culture of selfishness and individualism" that permeates society today.

"It is certainly necessary to give bread to the hungry – this is an act of justice. But there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy," he said.

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