Father Sheeran relates a nice story of a younger Chelsea Clinton enthusiastic about meeting the pope. It also contains this very interesting paragraph:
John Paul shook hands with everyone in the crowd and seemed to draw strength out of the encounters as he stood taller and walked with more confidence. A few minutes later, he greeted the President and they went into a private dining room for an hour’s conversation. Officially, it was protocol: The American head of state welcoming Vatican City’s head of state. But both men wanted a quiet place to get to know each other. Their hour of conversation reportedly involved practical issues like how the pope could encourage the Catholic Croats to seek peace with the Orthodox Serbs and how U.S. humanitarian relief to Muslim countries might be made more acceptable by placing Vatican seals on the boxes.
A couple of points:
US aid to Muslims via the Catholic Vatican might be more acceptable than directly from the US herself? Either this was a castle in the sky suggestion, or things are quite different in the Muslim world than one's first impressions suggest.
Wouldn't this raise all sorts of constitutional church-state issues?
And I wonder who first suggested it: Clinton or John Paul?