Leonardo DiCaprio meets with Pope Francis

By Siebbi (ipernity.com) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Siebbi (ipernity.com) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio discussed environmental causes.

Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hollywood superstar, met Pope Francis privately to discuss what both of them passionately believe in: the environment. The head of Roman Catholic Church and the Oscar nominee met in Vatican, and exchanged meaningful gifts.

Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the most famous Leo to walk through the Vatican gates. Although a total of 13 Leos have entered the Vatican before him, all popes, none of them have enjoyed the wide popularity and following as the Hollywood actor. It is no wonder that a one-line announcement prompted a large number of television crews and photographers running to the venue to record him coming out of the stately structure.

Vatican television later showed that the meeting was linked to climate and environmental concerns shared by both of them. The cameras recorded DiCaprio conversing in Italian with the pope, thanking the latter for receiving him. The actor later switched to English for the remaining part. DiCaprio gave the pontiff a book of paintings done by Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch painter who lived in the 16th century. He told the pope that a Bosch painting had hung from his bed when he was a boy.

The painting in question was “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” It is a triptych which depicts God giving Adam and Eve as a present. This event is portrayed to the left of the painting. Hell was illustrated to the right and an earthly landscape was portrayed in the middle. DiCaprio said that he did not understand the meaning of the painting when he was a boy. At that time, the artwork represented earth, a utopia given to humankind. The excess and the overpopulation under a darkened sky represented the destruction of the environment.

DiCaprio said that to him, the painting seemed to him a promise of enlightenment and future. This could represent the pope's views as well. He gave the pope a check as donation for the many papal charities. The sum was not disclosed.

Gifts were presented to the actor from the pope's side as well. Pope Francis presented DiCaprio a leather bound copy of the letter he wrote to the bishops of the church, “Laudato Si.” The pontiff also presented the actor “The Joy of the Gospel,” his apostolic exhortation. Environmentalists have praised “Laudato Si” or translated to English, “Praise Be” for its urgings to use green and sustainable energy sources. The letter also criticized the global economy of fossil fuels.


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