US President George W. Bush said this weekend he hopes to speak with Pope Benedict XVI about Cuba and “it’s desire to be free” during his upcoming meeting with Pontiff on June 9 at the Vatican.
In an interview published by the Italian daily “La Stampa,” Bush said, “If the Pope wants to, I would like to talk about Cuba and its desire to be free.”
The president said he is traveling to the Vatican to “listen” to the Pope and that he shares with the Holy Father “a common respect for life and for the dignity of man.”
Regarding China, Bush said he would encourage the Holy Father speak with clarity “about religious freedom” and to continue “standing up for Catholics” in that country.
This will be the first time President Bush meets with Benedict XVI. Bush was last in Rome in April of 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul II.