Blunders Mark Bush Audience with Pope Benedict XVI

World | June 9, 2007, Saturday // 00:00

The US President George Bush has made several blunders during his audience to Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday.

Bush called the Pope "Sir" instead of using the generally accepted form of address "Your Holiness".

World media has also reported of the US head of state's free manners that were not corresponding to the Vatican's strict etiquette. As an example, the journalists gave the fact that Bush was sitting in the typical "Texas" pose with his legs folded.

The Bush audience with the Roman Catholic leader was held in the framework of the US president's European tour.

The pontiff has asked Bush about the three-day G8 meeting and the president described it as a "successful" one, adding it had contained "a lot of different opinions".

President Bush has promoted his vision of "a freedom agenda'' and thanked allies for support with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pope Benedict told Bush that the Vatican would like a "regional and negotiated" solution to Middle East conflicts, as anti-US protesters converged on Rome.

Asked if his dialogue with Mr. Putin - closely watched because of a number of sharp disagreements between Russia and the West - had been good, Mr. Bush responded with a smile as reporters were being ushered out of the room.

"I'll tell you in a minute," he said.

The US president and the pontiff see eye-to-eye on ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia but are divided over the war in Iraq, which Benedict's predecessor, John Paul, tried to avert.

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