President Bush wished Pope John Paul II (search) a speedy recovery on Thursday after the pontiff was hospitalized for the second time this month.

"On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I send our heartfelt best wishes to Pope John Paul II," Bush said in a statement. "The Holy Father is in our thoughts and prayers and we wish him a speedy recovery and return to the service of his church and of all humanity."

The statement was issued aboard Air Force One (search) as the president returned to Washington from his European trip.

The frail, 84-year-old pontiff was taken to a Rome (search) hospital with a relapse of the flu, the Vatican said. He underwent a successful operation to insert a tube in his throat to relieve his breathing problems, the Vatican said.