Knee problem forces Pope Francis to cancel Africa tour

Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, has postponed his upcoming trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan due to an ongoing knee problem, the Vatican said, on Friday.

“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardise 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,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

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The trip, originally planned for July 2 to 7, will be rescheduled though no new date has been set.

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Francis, 85, has been suffering from pain in his right knee in recent weeks and last month relied on a wheelchair for the first time at a public event.

He has cancelled numerous engagements — a scheduled trip to Lebanon in June was postponed — and has sometimes been seen struggling to walk.

The Vatican has not said officially what the problem is, although sources have told AFP he has chronic arthritis.

The pope himself has also spoken of an injured ligament in his knee.

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