Vatican says pope may visit Cuba and Mexico next spring, final decision shortly

Pope Benedict XVI is looking into visiting Cuba and Mexico next spring and will make a final decision shortly, the Vatican said Thursday.

The announcement marks the first word from the Vatican of a possible foreign trip for the pontiff next year, and signals that despite his age — he turns 85 in April — and increasing frailty, Benedict still intends to travel far to meet the world’s Catholics.

In recent days, the Vatican asked its papal envoys in Cuba and Mexico to inform religious and political authorities that Benedict is studying a “concrete project” to visit the two countries, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

Benedict has focused his travels mostly in Europe, both to spare him from long trips and to focus his efforts on a continent where Christianity has fallen by the wayside. He did visit Brazil in 2007 and has said he hopes to return in 2013 for World Youth Day. And he has a trip to Benin coming up later this month, his second to Africa in his six-year-pontificate. [more]

SOURCE

Washington Post