Pope for diplomatic resolution
Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday during his first visit to the White House called on the US to diplomatically resolve conflicts abroad, saying Americans have historically demonstrated a firm commitment to promoting freedom throughout the world.
"I am confident that this concern for the greater human family will continue to find expression in support for the patient efforts of international diplomacy to resolve conflicts and promote progress," the pope said, speaking in English.
He did not publicly mention the conflict in Iraq, an issue that has been a source of disagreement with President George W Bush, but the matter was discussed at their private meeting after the reception.
Benedict, who was celebrating his 81st birthday, also expressed hope that his visit to the US will revive faith in Catholicism, which has been plagued with hundreds of cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy. On his flight to the US on Tuesday, the pope told reporters he was “deeply ashamed” over the scandal.