In a statement released Wednesday through Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Pope Francis offered his “heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family.”
He also commended President Bush’s “soul to the merciful love of Almighty God” and invoked “upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace.”
World leaders and dignitaries have been arriving to pay their respects at the state funeral today of former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday at the age of 94.
The body of the former President, who served as the 41st US president between 1989 and 1993, has been lying in state at the U.S. Capitol, and will be moved to the National Cathedral later today for the funeral.
Ex-President George W Bush will deliver one of the eulogies, after which his father, who was an Episcopalian, will be buried at a second funeral ceremony in his home state of Texas, alongside his wife, Barbara.
Pope St. John Paul II was the last pope to release a telegram in tribute to a president when he recognized Ronald Reagan's “unwavering commitment” to the “cause of freedom” following his death in 2004.
Today's Vatican statement reads:
“His Eminence Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
Saddened to learn of the death of former President George H. W. Bush, His Holiness Pope Francis offers heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his prayers to all the Bush family. Commending President Bush’s soul to the merciful love of Almighty God, His Holiness invokes upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of strength and peace.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State”