In a wide-ranging interview with German media, he also stressed the need for the Catholic Church to express positive messages rather than prohibitions. The German pontiff plans to visit his homeland Bavaria next month. He said he would like to visit Brazil next year."Then I'd like to visit the Holy Land... in a time of peace," he said. His predecessor John Paul II made numerous trips spanning the globe to meet Catholics and reach out to other faiths. Pope Benedict, 79, has travelled abroad three times since becoming pontiff in April 2005 - all within Europe.
'Positive idea to offer'
In the interview, broadcast on German television on Sunday, the Pope lamented the "secularisation" of Western society. "Humanity has rebuilt the world by itself and finding God inside this world has become more difficult. This is not specific to Germany: it's something that's valid throughout the world, especially in the West.
"Then again, today the West is being strongly influenced by other cultures in which the original religious element is very powerful. These cultures are horrified when they experience the West's coldness towards God," he said. Referring to papal visits, he said "I've never felt strong enough to plan many long trips".
"But where such a trip allows me to communicate a message or where, shall I say, it's in response to a sincere request, I'd like to go - in the 'measure' that's possible for me." He plans to visit Austria and Turkey later this year. Turning to issues of morality and the family, the Pope said "Christianity, Catholicism, isn't a collection of prohibitions: it's a positive option".
"It's very important that we look at it again because this idea has almost completely disappeared today. We've heard so much about what is not allowed that now it's time to say: we have a positive idea to offer, that man and woman are made for each other."
He also said Christians living in the Middle East should be helped "a lot" because "there's the present danger of them emigrating". "There's a great danger that these places where Christianity had its origins will be left without Christians," he said.