Pope Benedict has announced a special meeting of bishops next year to
discuss Middle East peace efforts and the role of the Catholic Church
in the region.
In comments Saturday to Roman Catholic Church leaders, the pope said the meeting will take place in October of next year (October 10-14, 2010).
He said the meeting will be titled, "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness."
The pope and the Vatican have long been active on the Middle East diplomatic front, seeking to protect Christians in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the Muslim-dominated region.
During a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May, Pope Benedict focused on building bridges between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. At times in the past, Pope Benedict has drawn criticism from members of the other faiths.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.