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Pope assures Bush US Catholics can overcome clergy abuse crisis

Pope John Paul II yesterday told US President George W. Bush that American Catholics have the spiritual resources to overcome the clergy sex abuse crisis.

After Bush expressed concern about the stature of the Catholic Church in the wake of sex abuse scandals the Holy Father expressed "his trust in the spiritual resources of American Catholics", according to papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters Bush mentioned the scandal in the context of how it is damaging the influence of the Catholic Church in US society.

Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Bush had said he would tell the pope: "I am concerned about the Catholic Church in America, I'm concerned about its standing. I say that because the Catholic Church is an incredibly important institution in our country.

"I'm also going to mention the fact that I appreciate the pope's leadership," the president said.

A Bush aide told reporters Bush would not raise the issue to criticize the pope, but to praise him for convoking the US cardinals at the Vatican in April to discuss the crisis and ways to end it.

The president arrived at the Vatican directly from a historic summit that joined NATO and Russia as partners. The Vatican spokesman said Bush briefed the pope on the new partnership.

Bush Shares With Pope Worry Over Abuse Cases (Washington Post)


29 May 2002