Pope hopes church can play role in Mideast peace

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI says he hopes the Catholic church can play a role in the Middle East peace process.

The pope spoke to reporters briefly before his plane touched down Friday in Jordan's capital, Amman, where he will begin his first Middle East visit that will also take him to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The pope said the Catholic church is not a political power but is a spiritual force that he hopes can contribute to attempts to forge peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

(Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)