Pope greeted by Bush at airport in Washington
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday was greeted by US President George W Bush at
Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, where the pontiff arrived to begin a
six-day US visit with stops at the White House and United Nations.
It was the first time Bush and First Lady Laura Bush have met a visiting head of state's plane. Their daughter Jenna was also on hand.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet again on Wednesday for talks at the White House, in only the second such meeting between a president and a pontiff at the presidential residence.
Benedict left Rome on an Alitalia Boeing 777 jet at 12:15 pm (1015 GMT).
Benedict is set to perform two public masses, on Thursday in Washington and Sunday in New York. He will also address the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, and visit Ground Zero, the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Benedict will not however visit Boston, which was the epicentre of the scandal over priests who sexually abused young children. The crimes were covered up by church officials, who moved the suspect priests to new parishes without warning parents there.
On his way to Washington, however, Benedict expressed a sense of "shame" over the scandal.
The pontiff's US visit is scheduled to last through Sunday.