December 27, 2010

Pope Benedict plans to make four foreign trips in 2011, including one to his German homeland and a three-day visit to the African country of Benin.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters Dec. 14 that the pope would also make four trips to Italian cities.

In all, the pope will spend 18 days on the road next year.

The pope will visit Croatia June 4-5 and travel to Spain Aug. 18-21 to preside over World Youth Day Celebrations.

He will visit Germany Sept. 22-25, the third trip to his native Germany.

The pope is likely to visit the capital city of Berlin, as well as Freiburg and Erfurt.

The pope’s trip to Benin Nov. 18-20 will be his second trip to Africa.

In Benin, a small country in West Africa, Catholics make up about 30 per cent of the population, and Muslims about 25 per cent.

Pope Benedict, who will turn 84 in April, has to date made 18 trips abroad, 12 of them in Europe.