Pope Reportedly Plans Southern Africa Trip in ’88

From Reuters

Pope John Paul II will visit Mozambique in September of next year as part of a tour of black southern African nations, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported Thursday.

The agency’s correspondent in Maputo, quoting Mozambican church sources, said President Joaquim Chissano had invited the Pope for a visit shortly after Chissano’s audience at the Vatican in May.

The Pope also plans stops in Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Botswana on the trip.

About 2 million of Mozambique’s 13 million people are Roman Catholics, Lusa said.

Relations between the local Roman Catholic Church and the leftist government became strained after bishops distributed a letter in May calling for negotiations with Mozambican National Resistance rebels to end the country’s civil war.