VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis travels on Friday to Romania, giving him another opportunity to preach a message of European integration and political rectitude even as he pays tribute to Christians killed during the communist era.
On his second trip to Eastern Europe in under a month, Francis will spend three days in Romania, which is overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian.
Catholics - Percent - Population - Government - Figures
Catholics are little more than five percent of the 20 million population, according to government figures.
Earlier in May, Francis visited Bulgaria and North Macedonia, discussing issues such as migration and European Union membership.
Romania - Time - Upheaval - Politician - Liviu
He arrives in Romania at a time of domestic upheaval, after the most powerful politician, Liviu Dragnea, was jailed for corruption, and the ruling Social Democrats took a drubbing in Europe’s parliamentary elections.
One of his first events in Romania is a speech to government authorities, national leaders and the diplomatic corps.
Francis - Occasions - Morality - Unity
Francis has often used such occasions to preach political morality and promote European unity.
While Romania is part of the European Union, which it joined in 2007, endemic corruption has kept it from admission in the Schengen area of no border controls and the European Commission has warned the government to clean its act up.
Pope - John - Paul - Romania - Visit
When Pope John Paul visited Romania in 1999, the visit was restricted to the capital Bucharest because that trip was part of a larger Vatican project to mend ties with the global Orthodox Church, which split with Rome in the Great Schism of 1054.
But Francis will use planes and...
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