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George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit

"He Represents Values That Are Important for the Health of the Country"

WASHINGTON, D.C., APRIL 14, 2008 (Zenit) - Here is a transcription of the interview held by EWTN anchor Raymond Arroyo with U.S. President George Bush on Friday. Arroyo spoke with the president leading up to Benedict XVI's April 15-20 visit to the United States.

Q Mr. President, this is the first head of state, Pope Benedict the XVI, you will ever greet on a tarmac. I was stunned to learn this. Why are you going and greeting him at an airstrip? Usually the heads of states come here.

THE PRESIDENT: Because he is a really important figure in a lot of ways. One, he speaks for millions. Two, he doesn't come as a politician; he comes as a man of faith. And, three, that I so subscribe to his notion that there are -- there's right and wrong in life, that moral relativism has a danger of undermining the capacity to have more hopeful and free societies, that I want to honor his convictions, as well.

Q You read his book on Europe, I'm told.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I read parts of it, yes.

Q What do you take generally from his appraisal of Europe and the world? And why is this relationship between the United States and the Holy See so important to you?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, it's important to me because the Holy Father represents and stands for some values that I think are important for the health of the country, and when he comes to America, millions of my fellow citizens will be hanging on his every word. And that's why it's important.

I really don't want to get into -- spend time being critical of Europe. My main objective is to make sure our country is strong and solid and remains in the lead. One of the tenets of my foreign policy is that there is an Almighty, and a gift of that Almighty to every man, woman and child is freedom. And, you know, His Holiness speaks with that kind of clarity.

I'm also, as you know, a believer in the value of human life for the -- whether it's -- you know, the most vulnerable amongst us. And he speaks clearly to that, as well.

Q Yes, I want to talk about that a little bit later, because you -- you know, he has commended, and no doubt will again, for your bold stance on pro-life issues. I want to touch on some of the points he will no doubt raise.

One of them is Africa. I watched with great interest your visit to Africa. You looked like the Pope of Tanzania when you arrived. (Laughter.) I mean, the whole town erupted. People I don't think have given you just desserts or credit for what you've done there. You've quadrupled aid to Africa. Your President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is now treating 1.4 million people. The malaria treatment is unbelievable -- something like 50 million people now being helped. When you look at that -- I was told by a group of people who came here to meet you at the White House, you said, to whom much is given, much is expected.

Is there a compulsion of faith here, personally --

THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely.

Q -- with this aid?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's a combination of faith and practicality. From the practical perspective, hopelessness is the only way for ideologues who murder the innocent to be able to recruit their followers. No one who's got a vision as dark and dim as al Qaeda can possibly say to somebody, follow me, my vision is hopeful or positive. Its like, you're so hopeless, this is your only out. And therefore, dealing with disease and hunger and despair helps defeat this -- these bunch of ideologues.

And then, secondly, I believe it's in our individual and collective interests to use our great blessings to help others, whether it be at home or abroad. And so, "to whom much is given, much is required" is a part of my belief. And I say to people all the time that it's in our national -- it's in our moral interests. It invigorates our soul to know that we have saved a baby that could be dying of a mosquito bite.

And I'm looking forward to talking to His Holy Father, and I will remind ...

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1 - 10 of 28 Comments

  1. GW
    5 years ago

    Holy cow! I'd respond to you, Steph, but the good Deacon Fournier will only censor me.

  2. Steph
    5 years ago

    HOLY COW! Give Bush a break!!! As a president he was forced to make difficult decisions... as too starting a war- Congress ok'd it as did thousands of Americans after 9-11, not only that, Bush went off info given to him he did not fabricate it (although his associates may have). Bush has upheld more Christian values than any other modern-day president (except for maybe Reagan). If any political head is too be criticized for lack of values and inaction it should be Polosi, Boxer, and the Obama family (<-- their church is more of a racist rally than christian group)

  3. GW
    5 years ago

    I don't know who the people to whom you're referring. If you are referring to my earlier post, then I appreciate your entreaties to God to forgive me of my sins. Since we are both sinners, I will return the favor.

    I stand by my words, though.

    There were very few Christ-like actions on the part of the Bush Administration. There were lots of ill-conceived actions, some dangerous, and some downright criminal; however, very, very few actions of which I as a Catholic Christian am proud. You should feel the same.

    Please keep in mind, before you get worked up, that I am not promoting Barack Obama, and I am not a "liberal." Only small-minded people use labels and put people in camps.

  4. j-fra
    5 years ago

    I think it is funny that the anti-Bush crowds even come to Christian websites to bash a fellow Christian. And these people also support the ideals and beliefs that are morally wrong in our society. Everything that they stand for not only goes against the Church but God as well. So, if being liberal means that much to you, so be it. But I pray that you'll be forgiven.

  5. GW
    5 years ago

    Esther, I'm still here. The "family values" president who we elected and who tortured people, ginned up false intelligence to start a war, and who left our economy in almost total collapse is still here. The president who paid lip service to pro-life causes is still here.
    I'm not posting this from anger. These are facts. The blood of all our soldiers, as well as all those Iraqis, guilty or innocent, who died since '03 is on our hands. I think part of the overwhelming sadness in our land is our collective guilt for what we have done over the past eight years, not to mention the past 30.

  6. Esther M Ferencz
    5 years ago

    Noone has posted on this page since late Sept.......I see the anti BUSH crowd has dispersed and that pleases me. There was lacking in some of George Bushs decisions..YET for it all I STILL BELIEVE he will enter HISTORY as a GOOD TO EXCELLENT PRESIDENT! He took so much GUFF from the MEDIA and the general population yet he did NOT WHILE as the present OCCUPANT OF THE WHITE HOUSE DOES!
    As for the Iraq war issue...WAR is terrible.....I personally see that war as a JUST WAR! BUSH was not the only NATIONAL LEADER to get the same info on SADAMN!!! And to bring relief to the OPPRESSED in the world is a PROUD THING TO DO! One in which America has always done....The VIETNAM CONFLICT was another POCK on this husband service @ that time as Helicopter Crew Chief I think that anyone who has NEVER SERVED has NO IDEA what war and CONFLICT and the whys and whats are about.LITERALLY..we all have opines but as we all have other body parts thats just what they are..OPINES..I take OFFENSE at those that disparge the actions of a president who TRYS TO AID THE TORMENTED, AFFLICTED AND DEFENSLESS around the GLOBE!!!! AMERICA IS KNOWN FOR THAT GREATNESS INSPIRED BY GOD I BELIEVE.

  7. Dan
    6 years ago

    Thanks Polly for your follow to Esther---is it my imagination or do the folks looking to tear down seek out Catholic sites to post and pose as experts on whatever negative thought they are spewing? I mean this in a most respectful way?

  8. polly
    6 years ago

    Esther may I butt in?
    I don't think you need be concerned about GW. Judging by the comments GW made he/she seems very sane, balanced, and well informed. You on the other hand could do with some TLC and a good lie down.

  9. Esther M Ferencz
    6 years ago

    GW are you WELL? No I mean this in a most respectful way? In my previous early years I worked as a nurse in an ICU unit with dying people all around, this was the late 60s and early 70s. I took on a different post as a VA Psych NURSE at a later time. I have seen first hand the very mentally unstable and the ramblings that occur when a mind is not clear in its health.....
    You appear to mock Susie and myself yet bless us in a weird way at the same time. To me as the PSYCH NURSE this tells me I am dealing with one who is conflicted and speaks with two voices at the same time which of course has a mental diagnosis, which of course I will not go into at this time and it is highly inappropiate of me to do so as well. Which is the real GW.....??

  10. Dan
    6 years ago

    It's amazing how clear his statements were as compared to the double speak we get today from the libs who talk serene but bring death and destruction with every action.

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