The aging Pontiff read a statement in Latin, Polish, English and Texan, chiding Bush for his unilateral aggression in Iraq and war crimes at Abu Ghraib, and admonishing him to say one hundred Hail Mary's, plus a novena and a duenna for good measure. The Holy Father also commanded the President to flagellate himself on Thursday nights.
Bush in return presented Pope John Paul II with the Boy Scout Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award. With his trademark smirk, Bush grasped the Pope's trembling hands and stated, "I want all the good Catholics back home in the US of A to be sure to remem'er this come November."
Bush suggested that the Pope immediately serve him Holy Communion, saying "Whar's that bread and grape juice, Padre?" The Pontiff demurred, saying "Non accelerando, adulescentula mea" ("Not so fast, buddy"). The question of whether war criminals can be offered communion is a question in hot contention among American bishops, and the Holy See deferred a pronunciamento until the matter can be taken up by the College of Cardinals.
Thereupon Bush suddenly lurched forward and vomited into the Holy Father's lap. Aides cleaned up and rushed the President to a waiting black helicopter, apologizing for the gaffe by saying Bush was overcome by jet-lag and "medications." The President was on his feet again within an hour to wave to thousands of Italian fans who had gathered in the streets of Rome to welcome him.
Commentators were divided on the significance of the President's tossing his cookies all over the Pope, with some saying that he was merely imitating protocol in the Presidency of the first President Bush, who vomited all over the Prime Minister on a state visit to Japan.