WASHINGTON – Pope Benedict XVI will visit the White House April 16, meeting during his first trip to the United States since becoming the leader of the Catholic Church in 2005, administration officials said.
"The President and the Holy Father will continue discussions, which they began during the President's visit to the Vatican in June 2007, on their common commitment to the importance of faith and reason in reaching shared goals," according to a news release.
"These goals include advancing peace throughout the Middle East and other troubled regions, promoting inter-faith understanding, and strengthening human rights and freedom, especially religious liberty, around the world."
Both the president and first lady Laura Bush will receive the pope, the White House said.
Benedict will visit the United States April 15-20, traveling first to Washington, where he will also make a stop at the Catholic University of America. He will then travel to New York, stopping at the United Nations on April 18 to deliver an address the U.N. General Assembly. He also will visit Ground Zero and hold mass at Yankee Stadium.
The trip also falls on the three-year anniversary of Benedict's becoming pope, following the death of Pope John Paul II.