Oh yes, they had a meeting too

By  Catholic News Service
  • April 17, 2008
In all the excitement, flag-waving and crowds surrounding Pope Benedict's public meetings, it is almost forgotten that he also had a quiet, private conversation with U.S. President George Bush on April 16. And while it was billed as a courtesy call, it turns out there was some rather substantive — if courteous — discussion.

The papal press office didn't release any account of the meeting, but the president's office saw fit to issue a statement after the meeting. Here's what it said:

 "President Bush, on behalf of all Americans, welcomed the Holy Father, wished him a happy birthday (editor: his 81st), and thanked him for the spiritual and moral guidance, which he offers to the whole human family. The president wished the Pope every success in his apostolic journey and in his address at the United Nations, and expressed appreciation for the Pope's upcoming visit to Ground Zero in New York.

"During their meeting, the Holy Father and the president discussed a number of topics of common interest to the Holy See and the United States of America, including moral and religious considerations to which both parties are committed: the respect of the dignity of the human person; the defence and promotion of life; matrimony and the family; the education of future generations; human rights and religious freedom; sustainable development and the struggle against poverty and pandemics, especially in Africa. In regard to the latter, the Holy Father welcomed the United States' substantial financial contributions in this area. The two reaffirmed their total rejection of terrorism as well as the manipulation of religion to justify immoral and violent acts against innocents. They further touched on the need to confront terrorism with appropriate means that respect the human person and his or her rights.

"The Holy Father and the president devoted considerable time in their discussion to the Middle East, in particular resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict in line with the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace and security, their mutual support for the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon, and their common concern for the situation in Iraq and particularly the precarious state of Christian communities there and elsewhere in the region. The Holy Father and the president expressed hope for an end to violence and for a prompt and comprehensive solution to the crises which afflict the region.

"The Holy Father and the president also considered the situation in Latin America with reference, among other matters, to immigrants, and the need for a co-ordinated policy regarding immigration, especially their humane treatment and the well-being of their families." 

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.