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VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI will visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories for a week this May, the pope confirmed on Sunday (Mar. 8).
“I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to ask the Lord, as I visit the places sanctified by his earthly passage, for the precious gift of unity and peace for the Middle East and all humanity,” Benedict told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square, following his weekly recitation of the Angelus prayer.
Benedict’s itinerary, still unconfirmed by the Vatican, is expected to begin in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
In Israel, the pope will visit Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and offer Mass in the town of Nazareth. He will also visit Bethlehem, in the Palestinian-ruled territory of the West Bank.
The pope, however, is not expected to visit Yad Vashem’s museum, where the Vatican has voiced objections over an exhibit that suggests wartime Pope Pius XII could have done more to protect Jews.
Benedict’s will be the second official trip by a pope to Israel, following a visit by Pope John Paul II in 2000, and an unofficial 1964 visit by Pope Paul VI.
By Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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