If to you, sanctity of life is but a code for “Save the fetuses”, then yes, Bush and the Pope agree. Out of the womb, the President and the Pope are sharply at odds with each other. You wouldn’t know this from some of the reporting out there (BBC):
This Pope has criticised the war in Iraq – highlighting the suffering of Iraq’s Christians. But on issues like the sanctity of life, human rights and the freedom to worship, the president and the Pope share a common agenda.
Bush’s position on the war directly conflicts with the idea that life is sacred. As does his position on the death penalty, which his stooges on the once politically independent Supreme Court ruled on.
In fact claiming Bush and the Pope are allied on the sanctity of life is more than poor reporting. Its echoing the rubbish coming out of right wing think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute:
Some may ask why Benedict XVI chose to come to the White House this year, at the risk of seeming to engage in politics during an election. My guess is that the Vatican has never had a better friend in the White House than George W. Bush–not only in defending the sanctity of human life, but in exposing the reflexive leftism (and “gnosticism”–to which I will return later) of many international organizations, and in stressing the importance of religious liberty in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Meanwhile spreading this myth of the President’s support for the sanctity of life, something awful is slipping by (CNN, emphasis mine):
In remarks greeting the pope, Bush called the United States “a nation of prayer.”
Bush was interrupted by applause as he said, “In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred and that each of us is willed.”
A “nation of prayer”? Reuters:
Pope Benedict praised the role of faith in American public life on Tuesday, calling it an example for more secularized Europe as he flew to his first visit to the United States as pontiff.
The German-born pope, speaking to reporters on the flight across the Atlantic, said European countries could not copy the U.S. model because they had their own histories and traditions, but could learn some lessons from the American system.
Benedict has often criticized European countries for denying their Christian roots and turning the separation of church and state — which he supports — into a policy denying religion’s place in public life.
Benedict’s position is simply a redefinition, a way to promote a mix of Church and State that is separate in a sense anyone not in the majority religion would find troublesome at best. That is one area where the Pontiff and the President agree.