The Pope Not Attending Dinner In His Honor

Apparently you can count the Pope among the 72% that do not approve of the job President Bush is doing. The White House is holding a dinner in his honor the evening after his arrival in the US but the leader of the Catholic Church will not be in attendance.

From Friday’s press briefing:

Q Just to clarify, for the pope’s visit to the White House, you said that now there’s a dinner in the East Room in honor of the pope?
Q Will the pope actually be attending that dinner?
MR. STANZEL: I don’t believe so, no.
Q Okay. Thank you.
Q I’m sorry. The pope doesn’t attend a dinner in his honor?
Q (Off mike.)
MR. STANZEL: He doesn’t come into the building.
Q Well, then it’s not a dinner for the pope, is it?
MR. STANZEL: It’s in honor of his visit. There will be leaders from the Catholic community from all over the country who are in town for that visit.
Q Is there a reason the pope doesn’t attend the dinner?
MR. STANZEL: I don’t know. I don’t have the full extent of his schedule.

So what about the Pope’s schedule that Mr Stanzel is questioning? The 7:30 dinner conflicts with this:

Transfer by car from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. – In other words, back to the Vatican Embassy for the evening in time to catch the prime time TV lineup.

Sounds like a snub to me.

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