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Bush to meet Pope tomorrow

Pope John Paul II will meet with US President George W. Bush at the Vatican tomorrow, as part of a European trip that also includes stops in Berlin, Moscow, and Paris.

This will be the second encounter for the Pope and the American leader. The first occurred last 23 July, when Bush and his wife visited the Holy Father at his summer residence on Castel Gandalfo.

The Pope's discussion with the US President are expected to include the Middle East peace process and the terror attacks on the United States. Last October, shortly after those attacks, the Pope met with former President George Bush, the current president's father.

A White House official recently assured reporters that the President did not intend to bring up the topic of the scandal caused by clerical misconduct in the US.

Meanwhile Malaysia's Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed receiving an invitation to visit the Vatican from Pope John Paul.

"I will brief the Cabinet about it," he said when asked about the report that he had been invited to meet with the Pope.

It was reported that if the meeting took place, it would coincide with Dr Mahathir's visit to Switzerland and Luxembourg next month.

Auxiliary Bishop of Kuala Lumpur Rt Rev Murphy Pakiam said the meeting would be both significant and important, that the two leaders meet and exchange views and friendship besides being in solidarity for world peace and harmony.

CWN/The Star

27 May 2002