Pope Francis has voiced his intention to visit South Sudan to study the situation in a country troubled by war and famine. Francis made the remarks during a visit to Rome’s Anglican church. Reuters reports that he wants to make the trip in the company of Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
He recalled that last October the Catholic, Episcopalian and Presbyterian bishops came to Rome to discuss the situation in their country and invited him to visit.
Francis said they told him “but don’t come alone, come with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury”. Welby is spiritual head of the worldwide Anglican communion, which counts about 85 million members and is the world’s third-largest Christian denomination. …
Francis said the trip would likely last just one day, which Vatican sources have said would be for security reasons. Francis gave no indication when it could take place but sources have said it would be this year.
There is no response yet on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website. Welby has just returned from a week visiting four other African provinces, in Rwanda, Kenya, Congo, and Burundi. An ecumenical delegation from the South Sudan Council of Churches visited the Vatican and Lambeth Palace last fall.
The delegation briefed the Archbishop of Canterbury on the situation in South Sudan and what the Church continues to do, and the outcome of their recent visit to the Holy Father. As they did with their visit to the Vatican, the delegation invited the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Holy Father to do all in their power for the promotion of peace and reconciliation.
Photo: Archbishop Welby and Pope Francis in Rome, October 2016; via archbishopofcanterbury.org