1st Benedict-Bush meeting to focus on split over Iraq war, shared values
By John Thavis
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – U.S. President George W. Bush is coming to the Vatican for his first formal audience with Pope Benedict XVI, a meeting seen on both sides as immensely important.
Vatican officials said the June 9 encounter would give the pope and the president a chance to sit down for a survey of dramatic situations around the world, including Iraq, where thousands of Christians have been forced to flee.
The Bush administration believes the audience will highlight the shared values and common objectives of the Vatican and the United States.
In an interview June 1, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Rooney, said the meeting was "a hugely important reflection" of the president's respect for the role of the pope and Vatican agencies around the world. the rest