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Leonardo DiCaprio talks about ecological disaster with Pope Francis

The Pope and Leonardo DiCaprio (Photo: L'Osservatore Romano)

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio met Pope Francis this morning and was presented with leather-bound copies of the Pope’s two encyclicals.

The film star, a passionate environmentalist like Pope Francis, thanked the Pope in Italian for the meeting and kissed his ring.

He offered Francis a book of works by the 15th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and pointed to a reproduction of a triptych that hung over his crib when he was a child. The triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, shows the Garden of Eden on one side and the Last Judgment on the other and a landscape of bodies in the middle.

DiCaprio told the Pope: “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 the environment.” He said he also thought it represented the Pope’s environmental concerns.

DiCaprio also gave the Pope a cheque – from his charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation – to use for whichever charitable purpose he wished.

The 41-year-old actor is currently promoting his latest film, The Revenant, about a group of trappers in Dakota.

DiCaprio was raised as a Catholic in California, but has no religion, although he has expressed an interest in Buddhism and says he is not an atheist.