Pope Benedict is due to meet Monday with diplomats from Muslim countries and leaders of Italy's Islamic community to explain comments about Islam that he says were misunderstood.
The head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Paul Poupard, will also attend the meeting at Castel Gandolfo the Pope's summer residence outside Rome. Vatican officials hope the meeting will reopen dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Islamic world.
Earlier this month, Pope Benedict quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor who had criticized some of the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. The pope has said those are not his own views. Thousands of Muslims worldwide have demonstrated to protest the pope's remarks.