Pope Benedict XVI says he hopes to visit Poland in June

Pope Benedict XVI said in an interview broadcast on Polish television Sunday that he hopes to travel in June to Poland, the homeland of his predecessor, John Paul II.

"I intend to go to Poland, if God and time allow," Benedict said in the prerecorded interview. "I have talked about this, also about the possible date with Archbishop (Stanislaw) Dziwisz" of Krakow.

"The talk is about June as the best date," Benedict said.

"This all requires further agreements, so in that sense these are preliminary discussions. But it seems if God permits, in June of next year I will be able to come to Poland," he said.

The 15-minute interview for the TVP1 channel was conducted Sept. 20 in the pope's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, near Rome.

The interview, conducted in Italian, was dubbed into Polish for the broadcast on Polish TV, which fell on the 27th anniversary of John Paul's election as pontiff.

Wearing a white cassock and skullcap and seated on an ornate gilded chair, Benedict described feeling guided by the spiritual presence of his predecessor, through prayer and regular study of John Paul's writings.

"The pope is close to me through his texts, because in them I see and I hear him, and this way I can have a permanent dialogue with the Holy Father," Benedict said.

"Though these words he constantly talks with me," he said. "Naturally, this closeness though words is not limited to texts only, but it is contact with a person."

"Behind these texts, I feel the presence of the pope himself, of a person who has gone to the Lord, but who has not become distant," Benedict said.

Benedict has granted one other interview since becoming pope _ to Vatican Radio, just before leaving for World Youth Day in his native Germany, in August.

That was his first, and so far only, foreign trip as pontiff, AP reported. V.A.

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