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April 16, 2008
Bush Greets Pope
Pope Benedict XVI landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington yesterday beginning his first trip to America since assuming the papacy 3 years ago.
He was greeted by President Bush and other dignataries at the airport:
The pope, who turns 81 on Wednesday, was greeted at the air base by President Bush, his wife Laura and his daughter Jenna. Cheered by an enthusiastic crowd of invited guests, Pope Benedict shook hands with a line of dignitaries before walking with Mr. Bush into a visitors lounge at the base. A large motorcade under tight security shuttled the pope and his entourage into Washington. The American church has been wounded greviously by the sex scandals that have generated so much distrust and emotional upheaval. To acknowledge the problem so openly is a good first step according to American Catholics but more must be done to root out potential abusers before they become priests.
In his first visit to the United States, Benedict is scheduled to make a series of appearances between his arrival and departure on April 20, including a mass at Yankee Stadium and an address before the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The pope began his visit by addressing an issue that has wounded the Catholic Church in the United States, telling reporters on his aircraft that the sexual abuse of children has caused “great suffering” for the church and “me personally.”
The scandal has produced thousands of sexual abuse victims and about 5,000 accused priests since it erupted in 2002 and has cost the church more than $2 billion in settlements.
Aside from that, Benedict will no doubt have a few words with Bush about the Iraq War. And, according to the Times article, the two will discuss immigration. Beyond these secular matters, Bendict will mostly concentrate on ministering to his flock and letting the people get to see him.