Empire News Africa

African Entertainment News Online…

Pope Francis in DRC and South Sudan: one among his most difficult visits ever

Spread the love

On 31 January, Pope Francis departed from Rome to central Africa, to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its neighbouring state South Sudan. The go to was beforehand scheduled for 2022, however didn’t happen due to the pope’s well being points.

Pope Francis’ go to to Africa comes at a defining moment for his papacy and for the Catholic church worldwide. He has led a interval since December 2019 of world reflection generally known as “the synodal path” wherein Catholics have been capable of communicate up concerning the agenda that the church ought to pursue. The same train, the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, was very profitable when it got here to involving the entire Catholic church.

Pope Francis is perceived as a progressive pope. He has led the church in opening to the world, together with LGBTI communities, although he has didn’t persuade ladies that they’re actually on the identical path as males inside the Catholic church as a result of they aren’t a part of the priestly ministry and only a few ladies are concerned in high management roles. His go to to Africa will spotlight the extreme participation of girls inside African social communities.

The Catholic church in Africa is prospering and rising – 20% of the world’s Catholics live in Africa. However the African church is extra conservative in doctrine and religion than in Europe, thus Pope Francis could have a considerably tougher time advancing his progressive agenda.

Poverty, violence, injustice, corruption, celibacy, the position of girls and dialogue with Islam are a few of the common themes the pope will cowl in his public addresses and conferences. He clearly helps the top of poverty and injustice however he’s extra conservative relating to the ordination of girls and celibacy.

The DRC and Sudan characterize the periphery of Africa, the place violence and battle have been the norm. It’s a tough and difficult go to, way more than his previous visits to Kenya and Uganda.


The invitation to the DRC was made by the nation’s authorities and the DRC’s Catholic Bishops Convention. Pope Francis will spend 4 days within the nation and the go to will embrace a gathering with victims of violence from jap DRC in addition to with NGOs working within the nation. He may even meet younger individuals, consecrated spiritual leaders and clergy, in addition to Jesuits working within the DRC.

The DRC, with its Belgian colonial previous, represents one of many African international locations with extra Catholics – 50% of the entire inhabitants of the nation. Within the Nineteen Sixties Pope Paul VI led the African liturgical reform by means of the Zairian Ceremony, the Catholic rites with an African flavour, later suspended by Pope John Paul II.

Additionally it is one of many international locations the place totally different insurgent armies have dedicated horrific crimes, together with mass rape. However the DRC has been house to nice theologians and intellectuals in addition to a Nobel Prize winner. Dr Denis Mukwege was collectively awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, for his medical work with DRC ladies who had been raped. Pope Francis needs to support peace initiatives and the seek for the frequent good.

South Sudan

In his go to to South Sudan, the place 40% of the inhabitants are Catholic, Pope Francis might be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. The three will meet with South Sudanese authorities, internally displaced individuals and Jesuits. They may even participate in an ecumenical service attended by Christian leaders from totally different Christian traditions.

The go to to South Sudan offers a continuity and a detailed relationship between political leaders who’ve been Christians because the basis of South Sudan in 2009. Pope Francis has repeatedly obtained them on the Vatican and has preached at retreats for them. However this younger nation has additionally skilled ethnic violence. Pope Francis needs to supply public help to these leaders who try for peace.

A tough process

The pope could have a joyful welcome in each international locations however a tough process. That process is to affirm his perception in peace and understanding and to problem unfavorable values corresponding to corruption, ethnic violence and violence in opposition to ladies.

It might be necessary for him to open new avenues for initiatives that may make the Catholic church extra African and to foster dialogue with African indigenous religions in order to not make the go to a triumphalist one however a gap to a church nearer to African customs and supporting African values – in opposition to violence, genocide and ethnic battle.

Learn extra: Pope Francis’ visit to Africa comes at a defining moment for the Catholic church

This might be one of the crucial difficult visits overseas by Pope Francis, and a tough one to Africa due to the violence within the DRC and Sudan. He was in Kenya, Uganda, and the Central African Republic in 2015 with 39 hours of keep in Bangui the place he dialogued with Muslim clerics and opened a door to reconciliation with Islam that marked his personal papacy. Such initiative led to later initiatives in Egypt and Iraq. This go to presents new challenges to the Catholic church in Africa and the potential for a extra secure peace within the DRC and Sudan.

Aguilar is the writer of the book Pope Francis: Journeys of a Peacemaker