The visit was scheduled for early July and was meant to be a short tour of the DRC and the South Sudan. A new date will be decided in the future.
“At the request of his doctors, and in order not to jeopardize 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, planned for 2 to 7 July, to a later date to be determined,” the Vatican announced.
The pontiff began being escorted via wheelchair to his appearances last month – the first time he’s needed such support since his surgery in 2021.
Last July, the pope underwent surgery on his colon and was hospitalized for almost two weeks. Since the operation, the pontiff has regularly complained of knee pain and other side effects that make mobility and physical exertion difficult.
Pope Francis has previously opted to sit when possible instead of standing for prolonged periods of time.
On Easter Sunday, the pope participated in a service at the Vatican and was able to walk the long aisle to his seat by using an attendant as support.
Pope Francis added fuel to rumors about the future of his pontificate by announcing he would visit the central Italian city of L’Aquila in August for a feast initiated by Pope Celestine V, one of the few pontiffs who resigned before Pope Benedict XVI stepped down in 2013.