VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush and Pope John Paul discussed on Tuesday the child sex scandals that have rocked the U.S. Roman Catholic Church, and the Pope said he hoped they could meet again in future.
The Pope, whose health has been failing, appeared relatively well as he greeted Bush in his private study in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
As Bush was leaving, John Paul told the President he’d found the talk “stimulating,” and couldn’t wait “for round two later tonight.”
In reply, Bush was overheard to tell the Pontiff, “Next time we need to discuss pedophilia, I hope you’ll be keeping both hands out from under your robe.”
The Pope, who has difficulty walking due to an unspecified bulge, received Bush standing at attention at his desk in his frescoed study.
After the two sat down, the Pope smiled and brought his hands to his lap, shielding it from photographers’ flashguns in a joking gesture. He then made the “OK” symbol with his left hand, while moving his right index finger repeatedly in and out of the “O” part.
“Holy shit,” said Bush.