Pope Francis Will Travel to Christian Holy Land in May

The fourth Pope to do so since biblical times

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Gregorio Borgia / AP

Pope Francis holds a statue of baby Jesus as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

Pope Francis announced Sunday he plans to visit biblical sites in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories in May, only the fourth pope to visit the Christian Holy Land since biblical times.

Francis plans to visit Amman, Jerusalem and Bethlehem from May 24 to 26, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s historic trip. He has been invited to visit by both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres.

This weekend the Pope also addressed same-sex marriage, saying Saturday that the Church should reevaluate the way it deals with children of divorced, gay couples.

“On an educational level, gay unions raise challenges for us today, which for us are sometimes difficult to understand,” Francis said in an address to the Catholic Union of Superiors General in November, Agence France-Presse reported.

But the Vatican clarified Sunday that Pope Francis’ comments did not signal an openness to same-sex marriages.