Pope John Paul flew to Zaire on Friday 92 May) on the first stage of his 18 thousand kilometres (11,000 miles) tour of black Africa.
SV Pope John Paul the Second leaving car and being greeted
SV Pope entering airport building and chatting to officials (2 shots)
GV PAN Officials in airport lounge TO aircraft (2 shots)
GV PAN Aircraft taking off
SCU Archbishop Malula of Kinshasa (Zaire) talking to reporter Tony van den Bosch in French
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Background: Pope John Paul flew to Zaire on Friday 92 May) on the first stage of his 18 thousand kilometres (11,000 miles) tour of black Africa. It will take him to six countries in ten days. After his stay in Kinshasa over the weekend, the Pope will travel to the Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Upper Volta, and the Ivory Coast. It is the pontiff's first foreign trip this year.
SYNOPSIS: Pope John Paul has emphasised the religious nature of his journey of Africa. He will gain first hand, if fleeting, impressions of the problems facing his church on the continent. In the past the Catholic Church often symbolised the established colonial powers. In Zaire, for example, the state took over the Church's schools in the mid-1970's, though it later handed them back. But in the Congo, they are still nationalised. Church workers have also been frequent targets of guerrilla movements seeking independence from colonial powers.
With the revival of Islam pressing African states from the north and east, and Africa's growing political power, the Pope's visit from the old world is seen as an attempt by him to understand the aspirations of the new Africa.
In a recent interview, one of the first church dignitaries the Pope will meet on his African tour, the Archbishop of Kinshasa, Monsignor Malula said the pontiff's visit will be stimulating and encouraging for the Christian people. "The Pope", the Archbishop said, "is bringing encouragement, a comfort to the sufferings of christians. The Pope," he went on, "is also coming to stimulate the efforts of those looking for the reality of the Church in Zaire."
Asked whether the pomp and circumstance of the Pope's visit would distract from the Church's problems, the Archbishop said the Church was in the service of the people. The Pope's visit, Archbishop Malula said, should stimulate feelings of love and brotherhood among Christians, and towards other people. And he paraphrased the Pope saying his visit to Africa was "essentially apostolic".