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.