The Argentine-pontiff was in Bolivia earlier in the day where he visited one of Latin America's most violent prisons. There, saying he too had made mistakes and sinned, the pope  called on inmates to shun gang violence and exhorted guards to treat them with dignity.

The pope's reception in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, included women dancing in long swaying dresses as Paraguayan Guarania music played and people dressed as saints with halos were carried on platforms. His first stop after the airport was a brief, unscheduled visit to the Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) women's prison, where inmates sang for him in an outside courtyard.

Later, in an address to Paraguay's leaders after a private meeting with President Horacio Cartes, Francis said, "For some years now, Paraguay has sought to build a solid and stable democracy. It is proper to recognise with satisfaction progress made in this direction."

He also said, ”Paraguay must banish the temptation to be satisfied with a purely formal democracy and its governments based on the promotion of and respect for human rights.”

Latest News from World News Desk