ROME – On Friday, the Vatican introduced that Pope Francis’s deliberate journey to the Congo and South Sudan in July has been placed on maintain due his knee issues, marking the primary time the pope has postponed a visit for well being causes.
Francis was set to go to the Democratic Republic of the Congo July 2-5, and South Sudan July 5-7, alongside Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace, for an ecumenical journey geared toward selling peace within the war-torn nations.
In a June 10 assertion, the Vatican stated that the choice to postpone the pope’s Africa journey was made “on the request of his docs, and so as to not jeopardize the outcomes of the remedy that he is present process for his knee.”
No new date for the go to was supplied, however the Vatican stated it will be moved “to a later date to be decided.”
The choice to drag out of the journey, which is lower than a month away, is critical given that it’s the first worldwide journey Pope Francis has canceled or postponed because of well being causes.
Francis additionally postponed plans to go to Lebanon this month. The journey had by no means been introduced however was being organized. It was postponed as a result of pope’s knee troubles. No new dates for the Lebanon go to have been introduced.
The announcement that the pope wouldn’t journey to Lebanon, which was made by a Lebanese minister, got here round one week after Pope Francis made his first public look in a wheelchair, which the pope stated he was utilizing so he may relaxation his knee.
In an interview on the time, Francis stated he had a torn ligament and was receiving therapy via injections and was underneath docs’ orders to relaxation his knee as a lot as doable.
The postponement of his Africa journey additionally comes amid recent rumors that he’s contemplating resignation, fueled largely by his latest well being troubles and a visit to the Italian metropolis of L’Aquila in August, the place he’ll go to the tomb of Pope Celestine the V, who was the primary pope to ever resign the papacy.
There was no indication from the pope or the Vatican that Francis plans to resign, nevertheless, his ongoing knee troubles and the postponement of his journey to the Congo and South Sudan – a visit he has lengthy desired to make – forged doubt on whether or not he’ll actually be capable of preserve the remainder of his busy summer time journey plans.
Pope Francis is ready to go to Canada July 24-30, just some weeks after his go to to Africa would have taken place.
In August, he’s scheduled to go to L’Aquila, and in September, the pope is scheduled to make journeys to Kazakhstan and to the southern Italian metropolis of Matera.
It’s unknown whether or not the pope will actually have the opportunity hold these appointments, however the probability that he’ll journey to Canada, the place he’s anticipated to ship an apology to Indigenous communities for the church’s function within the nation’s residential faculty system, as scheduled is more and more uncertain given his ongoing knee troubles.
The Vatican, in its announcement Friday, didn’t point out whether or not Welby and Wallace can even postpone their journeys, or whether or not they may make the go to as deliberate.
Comply with Elise Ann Allen on Twitter: @eliseannallen