Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday announced that he would hold an interfaith meeting in Assisi, Italy, this October to mark the 25th anniversary of a watershed meeting held there by his predecessor, John Paul II.

In the ever-shifting legacy of a complex papacy, the announcement seemed intended to show Benedict’s good will toward other faiths after years in which he was criticized by Muslims, Jews and other Christian denominations, especially Anglicans. But it was also significant because as the longtime head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was widely seen as having had serious reservations about the 1986 meeting, where leaders of all faiths met and prayed.

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