President Bush drew gasps at the Vatican on Saturday by referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "Mr. Pope" instead of the expected "His Holiness," according to reporters.
When the pontiff asked him if he was going to meet with officials of the lay Catholic Sant'Egidio community at the US embassy during his visit, the US leader was heard to say, "Mr. Pope, sounds like a plan."
In addition, the President apparently greeted a cardinal in the corridor with, "Nice robe. How's it hangin'?"
White House spokespersons have refused to comment on the President's casual vernacular except to say that George W. Bush has always been a man of the papal.