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Pope Francis meets actor Leonardo DiCaprio

By Sarah Mac Donald - 29 January, 2016

Pontiff gives Hollywood heart throb, who is dedicated to environmental causes, a copy of 'Laudato Si', his encyclical on the environment.

Leonardo di Caprio meets Pope Francis. © AFP

Leonardo DiCaprio meets Pope Francis. © AFP

Movie star Leonardo DiCaprio had an audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Thursday during which the Pontiff and American heart throb who is dedicated to environmental causes exchanged gifts.

The actor, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his role in ‘The Revenant’, is a long-time environmental campaigner.

In 1998, he launched ‘The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’ to support initiatives building sustainability.

DiCaprio addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier in the month where he called on business leaders to do more to fight global warming,

“We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity,” he said in Davos.

He also announced that his foundation was donating $15 million to environmental projects.

In the Vatican yesterday, DiCaprio gave Pope Francis a book of the art of the Dutch painter, Hieronymus Bosch.

He opened the book at a page with the triptych ‘The Garden of Early Delights’ which he said hung over his bed as a child.

“As a child I didn’t quite understand what it all meant, but through my child’s eyes it represented a planet, the utopia we had been given, the overpopulation, excesses, and the third panel we see a blackened sky that represents so much to me of what’s going in in the environment,” DiCaprio told Pope Francis.

DiCaprio also gave the Pope a cheque for his chosen charity.

Along with two other items, Pope Francis gave the actor a leather-bound version of his encyclical on the environment: ‘Laudato Si.’

Before departing, the Pope asked the actor to pray for him.

At the end of the encounter, DiCaprio kissed the Pope’s ring and, in Italian, thanked the Holy Father for meeting with him.

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