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President Bush to greet pope

Pope Benedict XVI is set to visit the White House during his United States trip, marking only the second time a pope has been there, according to CNN. President Bush is planning to meet the pope at the airport and hosting a fancy East Room dinner, both which are firsts for a president.

The leader of the Roman Catholics is set to visit the White House Wednesday morning, where a crowd of 12,000 is expected to show up. That will be the largest crowd during Bush's presidency, beating out Queen Elizabeth II which was around 7,000. The crowd isn't the only first, as Bush is planning to celebrate Benedict’s 81'st birthday also. Bush explained the special treatment, saying that Benedict was coming as a man of faith, and not a politician.

The first white house visit by a pope was by Pope John Paul II, when President Carter had 10,000 guests show up. Ever since Woodrow Wilson was a guest at Vatican City, each president has visited with the current pope at least once. Bush will break the record this week at five meetings, with two separate popes.

Bush and Benedict politically agree on many issues, like Bush did with the former pope John Paul. Social issues like abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research are a few examples. However, they disagree on the war in Iraq, and as a cardinal Benedict said that a preventive strike against Iraq could not be justified under Catholic doctrine.

Even with the special attention from the Bush administration, the most remembered and influential moments of Benedict's trip is likely to be when he addresses the United Nations on Friday, said George Weigel, a Catholic theologian and biographer of Pope John Paul II.