ROME – U.S. President George W. Bush is looking to Pope Benedict XVI (search) to provide the same kind of moral leadership as the "spectacular" papacy of John Paul II, the president's brother said Saturday.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (search), speaking for the president, told reporters that the American leader's three personal encounters with the late John Paul and his presence at the pope's funeral were a recognition by the White House of "the importance of the need for a moral voice in world affairs."
"I know that my brother looks forward to developing the same kind of relationship with Pope Benedict XVI, and in doing so, I think, advance the cause of social justice, freedom and democracy around the world," Jeb Bush said.
He said he believed the president had not yet scheduled a meeting with new pontiff.
Bush was in Rome to lead a U.S. delegation for Benedict's installation Sunday in a ceremony in St. Peter's Square (search) that will draw world leaders, royalty and representatives from various religious faiths. The delegation includes 21 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
John Paul's stands on abortion and other social issues meshed with those of the U.S. president, but the late pontiff criticized both George W. Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, for waging war with Iraq.
The Republican governor sought to dispel the notion that the pope's moral stands could influence day-to-day politics.
"It just relates to the broad questions of life. More importantly it relates to: How do we value life, how do we appreciate life, how do we strengthen family life?"
"It seems that we've lost our way a bit as it relates to some of the fundamentals that keep society from falling apart," Jeb Bush said.
He defended his brother's decision to go to war against Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein, though he said he was "uneasy" as a Roman Catholic when his views conflicted with those of the Vatican.
"I think that the United States' decision, the president's decision, was the right one," the governor said.
He paid tribute to John Paul II, who died on April 2 after a 26-year papacy.
"I was inspired by his leadership, his charisma. He'll be missed." Jeb Bush said. "But I think many of the qualities can be found in the new pope as well."