State of health makes long-term travel planning difficult

Minister: Pope Francis to visit Indonesia in September

Rome/Jakarta - Pope Francis is a frequent flyer – actually. His health is currently making long-term travel plans difficult. But he may be travelling far away again this year: a message has been received from the Vatican in Indonesia.

Published  on 01.04.2024 at 16:14  – 

Pope Francis is expected to visit Indonesia in September. This was announced by the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs on Monday. According to Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, the government has received a corresponding message from the Vatican. The Catholic head of the Church is due to arrive in the predominantly Muslim country on 3 September.

"During his visit, Pope Francis will be able to experience first-hand the diversity and interreligious fraternity that is growing in Indonesian society," the ministry's statement reads. The Vatican has not yet confirmed the plans.

Major trip announced

At the beginning of the year, Francis announced a major trip to the East Asia-Pacific region in an interview. He will visit East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia in August. These countries were already on the Pope's itinerary once before, in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the visits had to be postponed indefinitely.

The 87-year-old's current state of health makes long-term planning of long-distance travel difficult. Francis has repeatedly contracted respiratory infections. A trip to Dubai confirmed for November 2023 had to be cancelled for this reason. Added to this is the Pope's limited mobility; he has been dependent on a wheelchair for almost two years. Travelling is no longer as easy for him as it used to be, especially because of the long distances, Francis has already admitted to journalists on several occasions.

Three of the Pope's domestic trips have been officially announced. Francis will be in Venice, Verona and Trieste for a few hours at a time. Another short trip will take him to Leuven in Belgium. (KNA)