Leonardo DiCaprio Meets Pope, Speaks Italian

Actor also gave Francis a check
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2016 10:04 AM CST
Leonardo DiCaprio Meets Pope, Speaks Italian
Pope Francis browses through the book of paintings by Hieronymus Bosch he was presented by actor Leonardo Di Caprio, left, during a private audience in the pontiff's studio, at the Vatican, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.   (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Leonardo DiCaprio greeted Pope Francis at the Vatican Thursday, discussed their shared concern for the environment and gave the pontiff a check from his charitable foundation. "Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you," DiCaprio said in Italian as he arrived in the Apostolic Palace and kissed the pope's ring. Later, in English, DiCaprio offered Francis a book of works by the 15th-century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and showed him the reproduction of Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" that had hung over his crib as a child, the AP reports. The triptych, which DiCaprio has referred to in the past, depicts Adam and Eve in the first panel, a teeming landscape in the center panel, and finally a vision of hell.

"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 the pope. DiCaprio said he thought the painting also represented Francis' environmental concerns. An assistant then handed Francis an envelope and explained it was a check from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for the pope to use for charity works "close to your heart." Francis gave DiCaprio a leather-bound copy of his encyclical, Laudato Si, and his earlier document, The Joy of the Gospel. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)

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