Pope arrives at White House after greeting well-wishers

Other News Materials 16 April 2008 19:46

(dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI arrived at the White House Wednesday morning for his historic meeting with US President George W. Bush, where an estimated 10,000 people were on hand to greet him on the White House south lawn.

As he left the Vatican's embassy on his way to the White House, the pope stopped to shake hands and touch the heads of several well- wishers gathered there.

Crowds of thousands lined Pennsylvania Avenue, along the route Benedict will take leaving the White House, in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the Catholic patriarch.

They waved banners with words of welcome in English, Spanish and German, and wore T-shirts bearing his picture.

They sang and chanted as they waited.

One woman, Christina Banks, 31, had brought her two children in from Stafford, Virginia, for the occasion.

Referring to Benedict's remarks about his "shame" over the sexual abuse by priest scandals on the airplane as he headed to Washington, Banks expressed hope that the pope's visit would help make things better.

"For the Catholic church, it will mean first of all that we will experience more healing from the scandals," she told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa.