Vatican says papal trip to Papua New Guinea is ‘under study’

This is a general view of Port Moresby Harbor, Papua New Guinea seen Nov. 19, 2018. (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The foreign minister of Papua New Guinea said his government has received an “official note” that Pope Francis intends to visit the country for three days in August, but the director of the Vatican press office said plans for a trip are in the “very preliminary” stages.

Justin Tkatchenko, the foreign minister, said on January 25 a local planning committee had been set up and would be working with the apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea to plan the trip, which would include the capital, Port Moresby, and perhaps another city.

In an Italian television interview on January 14, Pope Francis said, “In August I have to make a trip to Polynesia.” It was widely assumed he was referring to a trip originally planned for 2020 to Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and perhaps other countries, but plans were scrapped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, told reporters on January 25 that an August trip is “under study”, but it was too early to say if the trip would go ahead and which countries would be included.

St John Paul II made two brief visits to Papua New Guinea in 1984 and 1995.

Photo: This is a general view of Port Moresby Harbour, Papua New Guinea seen November 19, 2018 (CNS photo/David Gray, Reuters)

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