President Paul Biya has met with the Holy Father Pope Francis at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. It was the sixth visit to the Vatican ever since the evil butcher of Yaoundé took power in 1982. The maiden meeting between the Holy Father Pope Francis and the Cameroonian dictator dated March 13, 2013 on the occasion of the official visit of Mr. Biya to Rome. The Thursday March 23rd 2017 forum between Biya and Francis was their second.
Paul Biya’s first trip to the Vatican was in November 1986. On April 8, 2005, he personally attended the funeral of Blessed John Paul II. On 1 May 2011, accompanied by his wife Chantal Biya, he took part in the ceremony of beatification of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII in Rome. Paul Biya returned to Rome on April 27, 2014, this time around, to take part in the mass of Canonization of these two Popes at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The mass said on that occasion was co-celebrated by Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.
Cameroon is ranked among the African destinations popular with papal visits. Blessed Pope John Paul II visited Cameroon twice from the 9th to the 14th of August 1985 and from 14th to 16th of September 1995. It was during His second Cameroonian visit that he proclaimed “The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa”. From the 17th to the 20th of March 2009, Pope Benedict XVI was in Cameroon. It was also on Cameroon’s soil that the “Instrumentum laboris”, a working document of the Second Special Synod of Bishops dedicated to Africa, was promulgated.
By Chi Prudence Asong and Soter Agbaw-Ebai