London, June 14 : US President George W Bush might convert to Catholicism after the splendid welcome he received from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.
Instead of greeting him, like all previous high-ranking visitors, in the Papal library of the Apostolic Palace, the Pope took Bush round the medieval St John's Tower then gave him a tour of the Vatican gardens, culminating in a brief open-air concert by the Sistine Chapel Choir.
It was a Vatican visit such as no other head of state has ever enjoyed, The Independent reported.
The Pope waited for Bush at the entrance of the tower. As he arrived, the President was overheard gushing "What an honour" as the two men disappeared for a half-hour talks.
The special reception was seen as a return of favours for the magnificent party thrown for the Pope two months ago when he turned 81 during his US tour, attended by up to 9,000 guests.
But on Friday, the Vatican was seething at rumours that there was much more to it than protocol: George Bush, lifelong Methodist, was about to convert.
The idea got extra mileage by the fact that the President's brother Jeb, the former Governor of Florida, converted to Catholicism on marrying his wife Columba, a Mexican.