Pope Francis has apologized to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for cancelling his visit.
The Vatican announced that the July 2-7 trip had been postponed indefinitely because of the 85-year-old pontiff’s knee ailment, which has forced him to use a wheelchair for more than a month.
“I feel great regret that I had to postpone this trip, which I am still very keen to make,” he said at his Sunday address before thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
“I ask you to pardon me for this. Let us pray together that with the help of God and with medical treatment, I can come to you as soon as possible. We are hopeful,” he said, directly addressing the people and authorities of both countries.
On Sunday, he referred to his ailment, which is believed to be a torn ligament, as “problems with my leg”. Pope Francis also suffers from sciatica, which caused him to limp even before the flare-up of the knee problem.
Last Friday, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, announced the postponement of the Apostolic Journey.
“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize 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, planned for 2 to 7 July, to a later date to be determined”.
The Papal trip to two African nations was to include two stops in the DRC – in the capital, Kinshasa, and the city of Goma – and a visit to Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
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