Pope celebrates 81st birthday at the White House

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Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 81st birthday Wednesday with his arrival at the White House before 9,000 guests.

President Bush introduced the leader of the world's one billion Catholics to top lawmakers. Both men spoke about the importance of faith in civic life and political leadership.

?In a world where some invoke the name of God to justify acts of terror and murder and hate, we need your message that God is love, ? said Bush.

As only the second pope in history to visit the White House, the pontiff took no time to state clearly what he hopes his visit will accomplish.

?As I begin my visit I trust that my presence will be a source of renewal and hope for the church in the United States and strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute even more responsibly to the life of this nation,? said the pope.

Before leaving in his popemobile to greet crowds along the streets of Washington, D.C, the pontiff met privately with President Bush in the Oval Office to discuss issues of common concern; respect and dignity of human life, education, human rights, the struggle against global poverty, immigration and peace in the Middle East.Pope Benedict XVI also met with U.S. bishops and attended an interfaith prayer service Wednesday evening. Click for more on the pope?s comments on the priest sex scandals

Click for how the priest sex scandals have impacted those in the area

ThePope's Visit

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