November 26, 2010 / 3:32 PM / 9 years ago

Pope Benedict to visit Benin in 2011

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he leads his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Benedict will make a three-day visit to Benin in November next year, his second trip as pontiff to Africa where the Catholic Church is growing faster than on any other continent.

According to a Vatican statement on Friday, the pope will deliver a document to African Catholic leaders that will develop themes discussed at the 2009 synod of bishops on Africa, and serve as a guide to the Church in Africa in coming years.

His visit to the west African state will run from November 18-20.

The pope made a first trip to Africa as pontiff in 2009, when he visited Cameroon and Angola. He sparked a storm of criticism from around the world during that trip for saying that the use of condoms was complicating the fight against AIDS.

This month the pope said condoms are sometimes morally justifiable to stop AIDS, a comment seen as a breakthrough for efforts to fight the disease in Africa, giving health workers and clergy more scope to broach the still taboo subject.

Despite recent progress, the AIDS-causing virus HIV still afflicts 22.5 million Africans — two-thirds of the world total.

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