Pope decries violence in Central African Republic; 'hopes' he can still go there this month

Pope Francis has decried a flare-up of violence in Central African Republic and says he hopes he can still visit that conflict-torn country during his pilgrimage to Africa this month.

Francis told pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that he wants to show the church's closeness to that "afflicted and tormented nation" and to encourage its people to work for reconciliation. He spoke of the "apostolic voyage I hope to be able to make in that nation."

His Nov. 25-30 trip will also take him to Uganda and Kenya.

Violence in Central Africa Republic forced its presidential and parliamentary elections to be postponed from October to December. Francis' itinerary includes a visit to a refugee camp there but he expressed "strong worry" Sunday about the violence.