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Francis' trip to Africa 'among most significant of his papacy'

30 novembre 2015 | 17.49
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Francis' visit to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic ranks among the most significant of his papacy, the Vatican daily newspaper L'Osservatorio Romano said in an editorial on Monday.

"It took just over 26 hours in the Central African Republic, hailed as a benediction from heaven and a victory for peace by the country's [interim] president Catherine Samba-Panza, to transform Pope Francis' trip into one of the most significant of his papacy," said the editorial.

Francis' determination to visit to CAR amid acute security fears, had shown the need for reconciliation in a country wracked by sectarian conflict and ground down by poverty, the editorial argued.

The paper hailed as "unprecedented" the pope's highly symbolic gesture of opening a "Holy Door" at Bangui Cathedral in CAR on Sunday ahead of the start of a Catholic Jubilee Year of forgiveness and reconciliation.

According to Catholic tradition, passing through such a "holy door" during a Jubilee Year allows worshippers to be forgiven their sins.

Although the Jubilee Year will formally begin on 8 December, opening the door marked its symbolic start.

Until now, such a gesture has only ever taken place in the Church's headquarters in the Vatican or in Rome.

"The Pope wanted to make Bangui, this city in the heart of Africa, which longs for peace, the spiritual capital of the world," L'Osservatorio Romano claimed.

Francis ended his six-day trip to Africa in CAR, where he arrived in Bangui on Sunday and flew back to Rome on Monday after a visit to a mosque and a refugee camp and celebrating masses in the capital's cathedral and a stadium.

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