Cardinal Pio Laghi, the first Papal nuncio to the United States, died in Rome. He held the post until 1990. He had previously been nuncio in Buenos Aires, Argentina and later held several senior positions in the Vatican. In 2003, John Paul II tasked him with his final major diplomatic assignment: to bring a personal message to George W. Bush to stop the invasion of Iraq. During one of his final interviews, he recalled his meeting with the American president.
Card. Pio Laghi I tried every, in my opinion, argument to stress that point that with peace nothing is lost, with war you will get into a very great turmoil, get into those Arab world. Certainly, when you make examinations of conscience, you can say always I should have, maybe knelt down or done something in order to say, Mr President, please, Mr President, please. I did that, but maybe I wasnt so forceful enough.
President Bush sent a message of condolence to the Pope, in which he praised Cardinal Laghis tireless work for peace and justice throughout the world.