Pope Francis will not visit South Sudan in October with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury as he had hoped, the Vatican spokesman said.
Greg Burke, the spokesman, told reporters on 30th May that the trip “was not for this year.”
With the civil war worsening and famine spreading, Pope Francis already in March had expressed doubts about the possibility of making the trip. In an interview published on 8th March with Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper, he said visiting South Sudan would be “important,” but he added, “I don’t believe that it is possible.”
Still, a small team from the Vatican visited Juba in May to study the situation and see if it might be possible even to do something only for a few hours at the Juba airport.
“Vatican security already did their inspection,” Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba told the Italian station Radio InBlu. “I’m sorry the pope cannot come. The country certainly will be disappointed by this news.”