Freeze Frame: Pope Benedict visits The White House

All white

Pope Benedict XVI met George Bush yesterday at the start of his first Papal visit to the US. The welcoming ceremony took place outside The White House. The story that the building was painted white to mask burn damage after a fire is untrue as the building has been white since its construction in 1798.

When not in Rome

The presence of the Vatican flag signifies a state visit: Vatican City is a separate state from Rome. The flat consists of two vertical bands, gold (on the hoist side) and white. The crossed keys of St Peter and the Papal tiara are centred in the white band. It's one of the two square flags in the world – the other being Swiss.

Sweet music

The United States Marine Band was formed by an Act of Congress signed by President John Adams in 1798. They are the oldest professional musical organisation in the US and their job is to provide music for the President. The band traditionally play "Hail to the Chief" to announce the President's arrival.

Benedict's burden

Pope Benedict – aka "God's Rottweiler" – is involved in something of a PR operation. He kicked off the US visit by telling journalists on the flight over that he was "ashamed" of the scandal in the US involving paedophile priests. It is only the second time that a pope has visited The White House. Yesterday was also his 81st birthday.

Divine mission

President Bush is one of the most openly religious Presidents modern America has had. He is a daily Bible reader and has talked publicly of hearing "God's call" to run for president and admitted praying for God's help since being in office. However, his position on matters such as abortion and homosexuality are unclear.

Papal cheerleaders

The Pope's cardinals, the most senior members of the Catholic Church, are collectively known as the College of Cardinals and it is they who choose a new Pope. There are 183 cardinals in the Vatican City but only a handful of them were picked to make the long journey to America.

Lawn and order

The South Lawn is often used for photo opportunities, since the building is more flatteringly lit from the south side, and Pennysylvania Avenue doesn't get in the shot. The South Lawn is also the venue for The White House's annual Easter egg roll and the annual Thanksgiving Presidential "pardoning" of a turkey.

Signed and sealed

The Presidential Seal pictures an American bald eagle with a ribbon in its beak with the motto of the United States: "E pluribus unum", meaning "Out of many, one". The eagle clutches an olive branch in one foot (to symbolise peace) and a bunch of arrows in the other (to symbolise defence of the nation).

Big cheeses

Approximately 9,000 ticket holders were admitted to the official welcoming of the Pope (a larger audience than that for the Queen on her official visit in May last year). Other big cheeses invited to the ceremony include Dick and Lynne Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and 146 Catholic members of Congress.

Brown and out

Notably absent from the proceedings was our own Gordon Brown. He is also in Washington, but received a lukewarm reception compared with the Pontiff. The Prime Minister's itinerary (which local newspapers have all-but ignored) includes a visit to the UN and meeting presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?