Pope to visit Germany this summer

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Vatican said Tuesday that Pope John Paul II will visit Germany this summer for the Church's World Youth Day but had no plans to travel to his native Poland in June as some had expected.

The brief statement by papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said elections are being held this year in Poland, implying this could be the reason for passing up the trip.

The ailing 84-year-old pontiff has cut back on foreign travel but aides have long insisted he would make the trip to Cologne, Germany, in mid-August for an event that draws hundreds of thousands of young Catholics from around the world.

Navarro-Valls' statement did not elaborate but Polish politicians have been looking into possible dates for the election, with the governing party reportedly considering June 19. Poland's Roman Catholic primate said last year the pope hoped to visit his homeland then, but the visit was never confirmed.

John Paul was last in Poland in 2002