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Thu Oct 23 23:59:35 SAST 2014

SA denies Pope visa

Ndasa Aye | 01 April, 2012 09:19
Pope Benedict XVI arrives at Revolution Square to officiate a mass in Havana
Pope Benedict XVI arrives at Revolution Square to officiate a mass in Havana.
Image by: DESMOND BOYLAN / REUTERS

Pope Benedict the XVI has been denied a visa to visit the country.

The Pontiff was previously planning a visit to the country in order to celebrate the life and work of Benedict Daswa, South Africa’s first saint.

However the department of Home Affairs has rejected his Visa, on the grounds that he heads an organisation with possible links to money laundering.

“This ‘Catholic Church’ of his is on the US money laundering watch list, and his bank has been linked to the fraudulent collapse of Banco Ambrosiano,” one department official told us.

Further concern was apparently raised by his repeated calls for the end of the secular state, and past links with dictators.

“He heads an organisation that was very closely aligned with Francisco Franco, and he himself was a member of the Hitler Youth,” Another source said, "we don't think he is joking when he says he opposes one of the bedrock principles of democratic law.”

Catholic groups are outraged, claiming the real reason is pressure from the US following the Pope's call for an end to sanctions against Cuba.

The president’s office could not be reached for comment - except to say, "April fools!"

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