The rumors may well be simply an over reaction to the warm welcome given President Bush by the Pope, but the word is spreading around the Vatican that George Bush might be interested in converting to Catholicism. Unlike most foreign dignitaries who are greeted by the Pope in the Library of the Apostolic, Pope Benedict gave a warm welcome to his American friend at the entrance to St. John’s tower and then showed him around the gardens. Bush was heard to express, “What an honor” when the Pope gave him this special tour and the two men then spent a half hour in private conversation.
The rumors about a Bush conversion most probably are connected to the recent conversion of former prime minister Tony Blair to Catholicism and to the fact Bush’s brother, Jeb, converted to Catholicism when he married his Mexican born wife, Columba. Cardinal Pio Laghi, the papal envoy to the White House commented: “Bush believes in the values of the church and his brother is a convert” in order to explain the extraordinary personal tone of the Bush meeting with the Pope.
One never knows what goes on in the mind of George Bush and the idea of being a member of a church that opposes abortion and gay marriage might be attractive. Who knows, but there may be many Catholics who would not welcome into their church a man who supports execution of murderers, who has caused war and destruction, and who has scant connection with the needs of poor people.