Meeting of The Pope and The President of the United States
Wait, What Did He Just Call the Pope?
June 13, 2008, Patrick Lyons, The New York Times
Um, the fellows with the red caps are the “eminences” . . . Seven years into his tenure, it will no longer surprise many people to hear that President Bush is not the most formality-minded person ever to hold the office. The irreverent nicknames he makes up for the people around him are legend, and it is not unusual for him to err a bit on the casual side in diplomatic encounters that, in other presidencies, might have been protocol-ed to a fare-thee-well.
VATICAN CITY — Here’s an update for our earlier item about the pope’s walk in the Vatican Gardens with President Bush: It’s been reported that President Bush made a verbal gaffe by addressing the pope as “Your Eminence” during the visit, instead of the proper “Your Holiness.” For the record, that’s not really accurate. The president called the pope “Your Holiness” three times upon his arrival; he used the term “Your Eminence” when addressing U.S. Archbishop James Harvey, at one point telling the archbishop: “Your Eminence, you’re looking good.” Actually, that was not quite right, either, since “eminence” is used in addressing cardinals, not bishops. But no big deal.