Pope Francis has cancelled his planned July trip to Congo and South Sudan on doctors’ orders because of ongoing knee problems.
The Vatican said on Friday that the trip had been postponed, but no new date has been set.
“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 Vatican said in a statement.
Francis has been using a wheelchair for more than a month due to strained ligaments in his right knee that have made walking and standing difficult.
The Pope has told friends he doesn’t want to undergo knee surgery, reportedly because of his reaction to anesthesia when he had 33 centimetres of his large intestine removed in July 2021.
Pope has trip to Canada planned in July
Francis has a planned trip to to Canada from July 24 to 29 that will include stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit.
The pontiff announced his plan to visit Canada during a meeting on April 1 with First Nations, Inuit and Métis delegates, who travelled to the Vatican to meet him.
At the time, Pope Francis also offered an initial apology for the “deplorable conduct” of some individual Roman Catholic Church members in Canada’s residential schools from the late 19th century and through subsequent decades.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement on Friday indicating the organization was in regular contact with the Vatican about the upcoming trip, and that it was seeking to “ensure his participation at events is for a limited period of time” of about one hour per event when he is in Canada.
“We continue to pray for the health of Pope Francis and that he will be able to join us in Canada next month,” the statement said.
Regarding other upcoming scheduled trips outside of Africa, spokesperson Matteo Bruni would only say that the Pope’s other commitments were confirmed.