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Pope Benedict XVI Plans to Visit Cologne Synagogue in August

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI is planning to visit the main synagogue in Cologne during his trip to the German city in August for the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

Israel's ambassador to, Italy Oded Ben-Hur, says the pontiff informed him of his plans following an audience Thursday with representatives of the diplomatic corps assigned to the Vatican.

The action will make Pope Benedict XVI, the second Roman Catholic pontiff to visit a Jewish place of worship. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, visited Rome's central synagogue in 1986.

The new pope has said he intends to continue his predecessor's work of trying to improve ties between Catholic and Jews.

At his installation Mass last month, Pope Benedict XVI specifically mentioned the great shared spiritual heritage of the two faiths.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.