"In order to respond to the cordiality of the welcome received by the Supreme Pontiff during his recent visit to the United States of America, the audience followed a special protocol.
"The Holy Father greeted President Bush - who was accompanied by his wife Laura and by Mary Ann Glendon, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See - at the entrance to the Tower of St. John located in the Vatican Gardens.
"His Holiness and the President of the United States then went to the study on the upper floor of the tower for a private meeting, while Laura Bush and Ambassador Glendon remained with Archbishop James Michael Harvey, prefect of the Pontifical Household. Subsequently they were joined by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone.
"During the cordial talks, the Holy Father firstly reiterated his gratitude for the warm and exceptional welcome he had received in the United States of America and at the White House during his visit there in April, and for the president's commitment in defence of fundamental moral values.
"The discussions them turned to the main themes of international politics: relations between the United States of America and Europe, the Middle East and efforts for peace in the Holy Land, globalisation, the food crisis and international trade, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
"At the end of the meeting, and following the exchange of gifts, Benedict XVI and President Bush took a brief stroll in the Vatican Gardens to the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes where they were joined by Mrs Bush and the entourage. There, the Choir of the Sistine Chapel sang two hymns."
(Statement by the Holy See Press Office)