Written by Frank Cotolo
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Topics: Pope, rome

Friday, 4 June 2004

image for Pope tough on Bush at meeting
The pope scolds President Bush for Iraq situation

ROME -- Pope John Paul II met with President Bush and told him to shut up and stop calling God his pal while waging war.

The Pope continually poked his finger at Bush, calling for an end to the "stupid thing in Iraq" and reminding the president of the Vatican's strong opposition to war.

After the meeting, Mr. Bush said, "Wow, I didn't think he would be so adamant about it. Guess my administration hit some kind of a nerve with him."

John Paul also said the world had been troubled by recent "deplorable events like the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American troops at Abu Ghraib."

Mr. Bush presented the pope with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The pope said, "Nice try with the award but it isn't going to get you out of the current pickle you are in with me, cowboy."

The 84-year-old pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease on a long list of ailments, addressed the president and Laura Bush slowly, often one word at a time and usually one word after the other.

The papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, declined to elaborate on any of the pope's remarks, but did say, "He's a tough sonofabitch when it comes to what he believes in."

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