Pope may visit Holy Land next year

The Vatican said that it was looking into a visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land next year. Benedict has a long-standing invitation from Israel, but differences over expropriated church property and other issues have so far prevented a trip. The Vatican and Israel are also at odds over the conduct of wartime Pope Pius XII. The Rev. Federico Lombardi said Thursday that "diplomatic contacts were under way to study the possibility of a visit by the Holy Father to the Holy Land next year." Lombardi declined to suggest any possible dates, saying contacts were still at an early stage.