Leonardo DiCaprio Meets with Pope Francis to Discuss Climate Change
"Leo explained that he wanted to discuss a subject they both have very much at heart" a source tells PEOPLE
Leonardo DiCaprio has officially met the Pope.
The actor had a private meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday morning.
“Leo explained that he wanted to discuss a subject they both have very much at heart: protecting the environment and climate change,” a source tells PEOPLE.
DiCaprio, 41, arrived at the Vatican at 11:15 a.m. local time and was accompanied by his father, George DiCaprio, and Milutin Gatsby, global fundraising chair for the actor’s namesake charity, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
During the 15-minute meeting, the actor presented the pontiff with a check from his environmental philanthropy for him to use for charity works “close to your heart,” reports the Associated Press.
He also gifted Pope Francis with a book containing works by the painter Hieronymus Bosch. DiCaprio explained that as a baby, the triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights” hung over his crib, and had a profound impact on him when he was growing up.
“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 explained to the Pope.
In return, the pontiff presented DiCaprio with a leather-bound version of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si,’ along with two other items.
“Your Holiness, thank you for granting me this private audience with you,” DiCaprio said in Italian as he kissed the Pope’s ring before leaving, according to the Associated Press.
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This meeting is the latest stop on the actor’s environmental advocacy tour. DiCaprio was recently honored for his philanthropic efforts at the Economic Forum in Davos, where he donated another $15 million to environmental projects.
He also announced new partnerships with different environmental groups that focus on conservation and sustainability around the world.