|Pope Benedict Xvi, President Bush To Meet At White House|
WASHINGTON (March 24, 2008)—Pope Benedict XVI will visit the White House, April 16, as part of his visit to Washington and New York.
This is the second visit of a pope to the White House. Pope John Paul II visited President and Mrs. Carter at the White House in October, 1979, on the final leg of a six-city United States tour. Pope Benedict will visit President and Mrs. Bush on April 16, the pope's birthday and the first full day of his six-day visit to the United States.
The White House announced that the Pope and President will continue discussions they began during President Bush's June, 2007 visit to the Vatican, when they discussed their shared commitment to "the importance of faith and reason in reaching common goals." These goals, said the White House, include "advancing peace throughout the Middle East and other troubled regions, promoting inter-faith understanding, and strengthening human rights and freedom, especially religious liberty, around the world."
Pope Benedict XVI will be greeted by President and Mrs. Bush at the South Portico. The President and Pope will deliver prepared remarks on the South Lawn and then enter the White House for a private meeting in the Oval Office.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II was greeted by President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter at the North Portico. The pope and president made a few brief, "informal" remarks, then proceeded indoors to the Blue Room for a welcome reception held in the manner reserved for visiting heads of state. Following the reception, Pope John Paul and President Carter adjourned to the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room for private meetings.
Historical notes from President Carter indicate that he and the Pope discussed international affairs, in particular, situations then underway in the Middle East, Philippines, South Korea, China and Europe.