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REUTERS Remo Casilli
REUTERS Remo Casilli
REUTERSRemo Casilli
REUTERSRemo Casilli
World News

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope plan long-awaited South Sudan trip

by Sophie Drew

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be joining the Pope on a trip to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in an 'apostolic journey.'

Pope Francis promised to visit the country a number of years ago, announcing plans from the St Peter's balcony. 

However, due to the pandemic, the trip was postponed. 

In July, it will finally come to fruition. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Right Rev Justin Welby will be accompanying the Pontiff, but his exact movements have not been confirmed. 

It will be the first time the two leaders have travelled together, despite papal visits often including another notable church leader.

The Pope previously suggested the pair embark on a visit to South Sudan in 2017, but worsening conflicts and the humanitarian crisis meant the visit could not go ahead. 

The idea was then reconsidered for 2020, but the global pandemic meant organisers were hesitant to press ahead with the visit. 

Despite the difficulties faced, Pope Francis made it quite clear that Welby was the man for the job. 

In 2017, when first discussing plans at a Catholic meeting, he said: "My collaborators are studying the possibility of a trip to South Sudan," Francis said.

 "But why? Because Anglican, Presbyterian and Catholic bishops came to tell me: 'Please come to South Sudan, maybe just for one day. 

"But don't come alone, come with Justin Welby. This came from the young church in that country, and it made us think about a very bad situation there, and the fact that they want peace, to work together for peace."

More than 400,000 people died in Sudan's civil war, which stretched from 2013-2019. It's hoped the trip will further mend a tenuous relationship.

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