I’m sorry: Pope Francis tells Congo, South Sudan after postponing tour

I’m sorry: Pope Francis tells Congo, South Sudan after postponing tour
Pope Francis is expected to tour South Sudan for the first time. [Courtesy]

Pope Francis has issued a public apology to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan for postponing his Apostolic tour that was scheduled to run from July 5 to July 7, 2022.

Speaking at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, where he addressed 20,000 pilgrims on Sunday, the pontiff said he was forced to postpone his planned tour due to a knee problem. He said he was hopeful that the situation would normalise with “the help of God and medical cures”.

“Dearest friends, with great sorrow, I had to postpone my visit to your countries, programmed for the first days of July, because of the problems with the leg,” he stated.

“I truly feel great sorrow at having to postpone this visit, which means so much to me. I apologize for this,” Pope Francis further added.

On Friday, Matteo Bruni, the Director of Holy See Press Office, announced the decision to postpone the tour saying it was done “at the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardise the results of the therapy that he is undergoing for his knee.’’

Bruni’s statement partly read: ‘‘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 development disappointed the organisers of the arrival of the Pope, who at the same time said they were committed to the preparations.

Dr. Stephen Ameyo Martine Mula, Metropolitan Bishop of Juba Diocese, is hopeful that the Catholic Church said: “We will continue with our ongoing preparations; our meetings and preparations are ongoing.’’