Time running out for a visit this year, even though Francis was hoping for one
Pope Francis’ voyage to India may not take place until 2018, reported the journal L’orient-Le jour last week. The trip had been announced by Pope Francis as “practically certain” for 2017. He said this November 1, during an airplane flight back from Sweden.
The Lebanese French-language publication based its report on declarations to the AFP news agency by a “high-ranking member of the Indian clergy,” who wished to remain anonymous. According to this source, the visit is “unlikely” to take place this year because “there is not much time left” to prepare a trip for 2017. Reportedly, this postponement is due to difficulties related to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda.
On July 13, the Matters India site already mentioned an eventual postponement of the Pontiff’s voyage. “We are still hopeful that the visit will take place at least early next year, if not earlier,” declared Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic bishops’ conference of India.
Last February 18, he had expressed concern that his country’s government had not yet sent an official invitation to the Pope.
During this trip, Peter’s Successor is also expected to travel to neighboring Bangladesh.
The last visit of a Bishop of Rome to India dates back to 1999, under the pontificate of John Paul II. XLN
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