Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Religion & Politics in Washington DC
Bush, big White House crowd greet Pope Benedict XVI on his birthday
The Roman Catholic Church leader received an unprecedented welcome by the president Tuesday. Mr. Bush, his wife, and their daughter Jenna traveled to Andrews Air Force Base to greet the pope, a first for the president.
President Bush is to welcome Pope Benedict with a 21-gun salute in a ceremony at the White House Wednesday.
During his flight to the U.S., Pope Benedict told reporters he felt deep shame over the sex abuse scandal by priests in the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. The church has paid at least $2 billion to victims of abuse and hundreds of priests have been removed.
The pontiff is to hold open-air Masses in Washington and New York during his six-day visit. He also will address leaders of Catholic colleges, speak at the United Nations, and visit the site of the former World Trade Center, which was destroyed by a terrorist attack in 2001.