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Pope takes Bush to task on war

Both Pope John Paul II and anti-war protesters US President George Bush to return Iraq to Iraqis when he visited Rome on Friday.

Thousands marched across the city massed behind a banner reading, "No War - No Bush".

The Pope reserved his toughest words for the scandal over US troops' abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

"In the past few weeks other deplorable events have come to light which have troubled the civic and religious conscience of all, and made more difficult a serene and resolute commitment to shared human values," he said.

"In the absence of such a commitment, neither war nor terrorism will ever be overcome."

The White House said President Bush took no offence from the Pope's remarks. "I'm sure he's concerned about those (prison) abuses. The President is as well. That's why we're taking a systemic look at the prison system and holding people responsible," a spokesman said.

The Holy Father, who sent envoys to both Mr Bush and Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in 2003 to try to avert war, said the appointment of a head of state in Iraq and the formation of an interim government were encouraging steps towards normalisation.

"May a similar hope for peace also be rekindled in the Holy Land and lead to new negotiations, dictated by a sincere and determined commitment to dialogue, between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority," he said.

President Bush's audience took place shortly before Pope John Paul II left for Switzerland, where some 70,000 faithful attended the papal mass in the capital Bern.

He toured the congregation in his Popemobile before presiding at the open-air mass in an upbeat end to his first foreign trip in nine months.

On Saturday, he told young worshippers he would keep working "until the end".

A poll suggests some three-quarters of Swiss feel the Pope should retire.

The turn-out exceeded the expectations of organisers, who had reportedly feared that hopes for an audience of 50,000 would not be fulfilled.

"Dear young friends," he said. "You should know that the Pope likes you, accompanies you daily in his prayers, counts on your co-operation in the matter of the Gospel and encourages you to proceed optimistically in the path of Christian living."

Pope takes Bush to task on war (The Age/Reuters 6/6/04)
Crowds flock to Pope's Bern mass (BBC 6/6/04)

Pope calls for Iraq resolution (The Age 5/6/04)
Pope admonishes Bush on Iraq (The Advertiser/AFP 5/6/04)
Pope tells Bush: restore Iraqi sovereignty (Sydney Morning Herald 5/6/04)
Bush pressured on Iraq by Pope (Reuters 4/6/04)
Bush Presents Award to Pope John Paul II (The Guardian/Associated Press 4/6/04)
Pope Calls for Return of Iraq to Full Sovereignty (Zenit 4/6/04)
Bush Hails Pope as "Strong Symbol of Freedom" (Zenit 4/6/04)
Pope's Address to U.S. President Bush (Zenit 4/6/04)
George Bush's Address to John Paul II (Zenit 4/6/04)
Switzerland Hopes to Have Ambassador in Vatican (Zenit 4/6/04)
Stronger-looking pope celebrates mass (Associated Press/ 6/6/04)
Frail Pope rallies (Associated Press/New York Daily News 6/6/04)
70,000 Participate at Pope's Mass in Switzerland (Voice of America 6/6/04)
Pope meets Bush, expresses concern about continuing unrest in Iraq (Catholic News Service 4/6/04)
Pope, Bush speak on Iraq, terrorism, and life (Catholic World News 4/6/04)
Pope tells Bush of his concerns over Iraq and Holy Land (Independent Catholic News 4/6/04)
Vatican ensures Bush's meeting with pope in no way a campaign stop (Catholic News Service 4/6/04)
Pope celebrates open-air mass (Sunday Mail 6/6/04)
Pope Says Determined to Carry on in Job (Reuters 5/6/04)
Ailing Pope begins Swiss trip (Reuters 5/6/04)
80,000 Greet Pope Before Open-Air Mass (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/6/04)
John L Allen: President Bush and the Pope; Preview of John Paul's Swiss trip; The next 25 years (National Catholic Reporter 4/6/04)
Pope tells Swiss rally he won't give up (Associated Press/Tallahassee Democrat 6/6/04)
"Old" John Paul II kindles youth's faith ( 6/6/04)
Pope's schedule for weekend trip to Switzerland (Catholic World News 4/6/04)
Pope John Paul II Pays Tribute to Reagan (The Guardian/Associated Press 6/6/04)
John Paul II Urges an Evangelization of U.S. Culture (Zenit 4/6/04)
Rights Seen as "Self-Centered Demands," Laments Pope (Zenit 4/6/04)
Fight cultural "idolatry," Pope asks US bishops (Catholic World News 4/6/04)
Pope Denounces Abortion, Same-Sex Unions (The Guardian/Associated Press 4/6/04)

7 Jun 2004