Pope grants interviews to German journalist for new book expected later this year

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI has granted a series of interviews to a German journalist that will form the basis of a new book expected later this year.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Benedict and journalist Peter Seewald spoke several times over the course of the final week in July at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

Seewald interviewed then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for his 1996 book "Salt of the Earth," essentially a transcript of interviews on the state of the church from Ratzinger's perspective as the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi says the new book, in German and Italian, would be published before the end of the year by the Vatican's publishing house.