(Crux) Pope Francis heads to Colombia today, for what will be his fifth visit to Latin America since being elected in March 2013. It’s a sensitive outing, as he’ll have to navigate the difference between supporting a peace process to end a decades-long civil war and maintaining a critical distance from highly controversial agreements signed between the government and guerrilla groups.
The Sept. 6-11 outing will see Francis visit four different cities, beginning with the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, from where he’ll fly off each day for day trips to Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena. Afterwards, he’ll fly back to Rome on the 10th, arriving the following day.
The invitation for Francis to visit the country came early in his pontificate, but he delayed accepting until, as he put it, a stable peace agreement was more or less in place.
“He had wanted to go for a long time. Now the moment has come,” said American Greg Burke, the Vatican’s spokesman, addressing journalists on Monday. [More]