Pope Benedict planning visit to Monaco in 2012

Monaco - Pope Benedict XVI is planning a visit to Monaco, in what would be the first visit by a pope to the tiny principality in nearly 500 years, Monaco's Catholic Church said Thursday.

"We invited him several times and now we have received a positive answer," Rene Giuliano, vicar-general of the Monaco archbishopric, said.

The time-frame being discussed was 2012, he said.

The Vatican usually doesn't confirm the pope's travel plans far in advance.

Benedict granted Prince Albert of Monaco a private audience in October 2009.

The last pope to visit Monaco was Pope Clemens VII in 1532.

Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world after the Vatican State.

The Catholic Church is the state church.