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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 October 2005, 21:38 GMT 22:38 UK
Pope Benedict plans Polish visit
Polish scouts watch the interview broadcast in on a castle wall in Warsaw.
Pope Benedict spoke warmly of his predecessor John Paul II
Pope Benedict XVI has said he hopes to visit Poland, homeland of his popular predecessor John Paul II, in June 2006.

"If God wills it, and my schedule allows it, I have every intention of coming to Poland," he said in interview with Poland's TVP1 television channel.

The fifteen-minute interview was broadcast to mark the 27th anniversary of John Paul's election as pontiff.

The programme, recorded in September, was reportedly the first time a pope has ever given a televised interview.

The interview was recorded on 20 September at the pope's summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

Spiritual Guidance

During the broadcast Benedict XVI heaped praise on his predecessor and said he felt spiritually guided by John Paul II.

"He was the spokesman of the great values of humanity for non-Christians and other religions," Benedict said.

"The pope is always close to me through his writings. I hear him and I see him speaking, so I can keep up a continuous dialogue with him," he added.

Pope Benedict also described his final meetings with John Paul, who he said was lucid though "visibly in great pain".

The pontiff also said he did not plan to issue many new documents during his period in office but would instead work to assimilate the ideas of John Paul into the Catholic Church's teachings.

Since his election in April, Pope Benedict has made only one official foreign trip - to his native Germany in August.


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