President George W. Bush has received a warm welcome from the Pope as he continues his farewell tour of Europe. In a break with normal protocol, Pope Benedict XVI greeted Bush and his wife Laura in the Vatican Gardens. The Pope and the President then held talks in a restored medieval tower there. The special treatment is designed to repay Bush for the hospitality the pontiff received in April on a visit to the White House.
The pair see eye-to-eye on many moral issues, such as abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research. Analysts say the Catholic vote will play a significant role in several key states in November’s presidential election. Bush continues his tour with stopovers in Paris and London.