“Accepting the request of his doctors, and in order not to compromise the results of the knee therapies still in progress, the Holy Father, to his great regret, is forced to postpone his trip (…) to a later date which remains to be defined”, announced in a press release the director of the press service of the Holy See, Matteo Bruni.

This unexpected announcement comes as preparations were in full swing, the Vatican itself having unveiled the detailed program for this six-day trip, during which the sovereign pontiff was to visit Kinshasa, Goma and Juba.

The statement did not mention the trip to Canada scheduled for July 24-30, during which the pope is expected to renew his apology for the violence perpetrated for decades in residential schools for indigenous people.

In early May, Lebanon had already announced the postponement of the Pope’s visit to the country scheduled for June, citing “health reasons”.

Suffering from severe pain in the right knee, the Argentine sovereign pontiff has appeared in a wheelchair since the beginning of May and has announced that he will have to undergo infiltrations, injections of anti-inflammatory drugs based on corticosteroids.

“I’ve been in this state for a while, I can’t walk anymore,” he confided in May in an interview with the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera, after having been forced to cancel several meetings planned for his diary.

The sovereign pontiff also suffers from hip pain which makes him limp and underwent a delicate colon operation in July 2021.