Pope Meets Elder Bush and Promises Prayers for U.S.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Following a private meeting with former U.S. President George Bush, John Paul II today announced that the Holy See will join in prayer for the United States on Oct. 11, the one-month anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.



After praying the Angelus with the attendees at the Synod of Bishops, John Paul II said: "This morning I received George Bush in audience, former president of the United States of America, father of the current president."

"I wanted to assure him that our assembly feels this tragedy profoundly, which has overwhelmed humanity," the Pope said. "Oct. 11 will be for all of us a day of prayer. We, too, will pray from here for the victims and for peace in the world."

The elder Bush´s meeting with the Pope was scheduled long before the terrorist attacks. He had visited the Pope twice as president, four times as vice president, and once, in 1997, as former president.

Bush had breakfast with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi before his papal audience. The former president is in Italy on what the U.S. Embassy calls a "strictly private visit," the Associated Press reported. He met with President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero on Wednesday, AP said.