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02 March 2017 | by Christopher Lamb

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It was one of the most moving moments I’ve experienced in reporting on this papacy. Pope Francis stepped off the papal plane and into the war zone of the Central African Republic, a country he’d been strongly advised not to visit but which he insisted on going to anyway. “Give me a parachute if you can’t get me there,” he told his pilot.

Rather than being feted with the pomp and ceremony of a military band and met by crowds of flag-waving schoolchildren, the Pope landed at an airport in Bangui that was surrounded by a refugee camp. Some of the children from the camps would later run alongside the papal plane waving as it accelerated along the runway.


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