Originally scheduled for early July, the trip has been indefinitely postponed to June. Pope Francis will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan in early 2023. The two African countries are rife with violence, and he postponed a visit last summer due to poor health.
The Vatican noted the sore knees of the pope, who turned 86 in December and moves around with his wheelchair and cane.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with a population of 100 million people, an estimated 40% of the population is Catholic. The last papal visit to Kinshasa dates back to 1985 when Pope John Paul II visited.
Although the country is a secular nation, religion is ubiquitous in the daily lives of Congolese people. The Catholic Church in particular has played a leading role in political life in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The 11 million population country, plagued by chronic instability, was embroiled in a bloody civil war between its arch-enemies Riek Machar and Salva Kiir from 2013 to 2018, leaving 40 Nearly 10,000 people died and millions more displaced.
Despite a peace deal signed in 2018 stipulating power-sharing within the government of national unity, feuds between his two rivals for the head of state continue and violence rages.
Noteworthy Since the 2013 election, François has made four trips to Africa, including Kenya, Uganda, the Central African Republic, Egypt and Morocco. His last trip to Africa was in September 2019 when he visited Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.