THE APOSTOLIC JOURNEYS OF POPE FRANCIS: A COMMITMENT AS WIDE AS THE WORLD
The Holy Father's visits abroad are normally called "Apostolic Journeys": this name derives from the fact that the Pope is the successor of the Apostle Peter. As Head of the universal Catholic Church, it is also part of his pastoral solicitude to visit the different Catholic communities worldwide. The term "Apostolic Journey," therefore, highlights precisely the religious dimension of the Pope's visits to the various communities of the Catholic Church scattered throughout the world.
Since the Pope is Head of an international sovereign entity (the Holy See), from the point of view of International Law, Apostolic Journeys usually fall into the category of State Visits, with all the elements provided by the diplomatic protocol for such cases.
In accordance with the dual nature - diplomatic and religious - of the Pope's visits abroad, they usually originate from the invitation extended to the Holy Father by the Head of State of the host nation and the Bishops of the local Catholic Church, both of which are required for the Apostolic Journey to take place.
Since 2013, the Holy Father Pope Francis has completed 38 Apostolic Journeys to 54 different nations, in addition to 31 Pastoral Visits to 41 cities in Italy.
The Apostolic Journey
to Bahrain will be the 39th of his Pontificate.