Pope Francis has postponed his planned July trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan due to a continuing knee problem.
The Pope 85, canceled his trip to Africa on doctors’ orders because of ongoing knee problems, the Vatican said Friday.
This has raised further health and mobility concerns for the ageing pontiff. The Vatican said the July 2-7 trip to Congo and South Sudan would be rescheduled “to a later date to be determined.”
The Vatican further added,“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardise the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee, the Holy Father has been forced to postpone, with regret, his Apostolic Journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to South Sudan.”
The Pope has been on wheelchair for about a month due to strained ligaments in his right knee , making walking and standing difficult and painful. He also has received injections, kept the knee as immobile as possible and walked with a cane or the help of an aide, when necessary.
At the beginning of June, plans were proceeding for the trip to the two African countries, with the Vatican releasing the names of accredited journalists who were due to fly on the papal plane.
The papacy also planned a July 24-30 visit to Canada but said nothing about the trip. Spokesman Matteo Bruni would only say that the pope’s other commitments were confirmed.
The pope had objected to knee surgery, reportedly because of his reaction to anesthesia when he had 33 centimetres of his large intestine removed in July 2021.
Speculation has swirled about the future of the papacy because of Francis’ knee problems, his decision to create 16 new voting-age cardinals, and his plans to pay homage in August to a 13th century pope who resigned, Celestine V.
Francis however, has not indicated or shown plans to resign. Vatican watchers say a papal resignation now would be unthinkable given that Francis’ predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, 95, is still alive.
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