Pope Francis is hopeful he can still visit the Central African Republic this month despite what he called a worrisome flare-up of violence in that conflict-torn country.
Details of his November 25-30 visit to Africa, which also includes travel in Uganda and Kenya, were unveiled by the Vatican in October. But Francis’s remarks on Sunday to the faithful in St Peter’s Square raised the possibility that security risks could cause the Central African Republic leg of his trip to change or even be scrapped.
Francis said he wants to show the Church’s closeness to that “afflicted and tormented nation” and to encourage “all Central Africans to be ever more witnesses to mercy and reconciliation.”
Violence in Central Africa Republic forced its presidential and parliamentary elections to be postponed from October to December.
Francis said there were “sorrowful incidents that in these days worsened the delicate situation in the Central African Republic, sparking strong worry in my soul.” He didn’t assign blame, but added, “I appeal to all sides involved so that an end will come to this cycle of violence.”
His itinerary includes visiting a refugee camp in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.
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