Pope Francis Meets With Leonardo Di Caprio

International sweetheart and movie star Leonardo DiCaprio has recently made a new friend. The Hollywood icon and friend to celebrities like Rihanna and Martin Scorsese is well known for his devotion to environmental issues, and doesn’t have a lot in common with many people. However, The Revenant star has found someone else who has managed to balance superfame with a sense of environmental responsibility: Pope Francis. Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio share a mutual devotion to the well-being of the planet.

According to Vanity Fair, DiCaprio and Pope Francis met on the morning of Thursday, January 28. There is no official information about the agenda of the meeting, but it’s not hard to imagine what the two champions of environmental issues would talk about. Leonardo is the founder of the Earth-focused Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an organization whose mandate is environmental conservation and preservation. Pope Francis has made a clear Earth-friendly message part of his public image, publishing the encyclical Laudato Si for the Catholic world.

DiCaprio greeted the Catholic figurehead in Italian and gave the Pope a cheque, which Leonardo told Pope Francis was to be used for charitable work “close to your heart.” As touching as this is, the real emotional doozy came in the form of a much more personal gift. According to Us Weekly, DiCaprio gave Pope Francis a book about the art of world-renowned artist Hieronymus Bosch. The book contained a recreation of one of DiCaprio’s own favorites, The Garden of Earthly Delights.

The famous piece was hung over Leonardo’s crib when he was a child, and the superstar clearly has a big place in his heart for the masterpiece painting.

DiCaprio told the Pope how important the piece was to him, and how he felt it represented so much of the world we live in today.

“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 on in the environment.”

DiCaprio is far from the only big name to have recently met with Pope Francis. His Holiness saw everyone from Mark Whalberg to Jennifer Hudson perform during a fall trip to the United States last year. After a screening of the film Unbroken, which featured a particularly Catholic character, Angelina Jolie also shook hands with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Some might take a cynical approach to the big meet between DiCaprio and Pope Francis, and describe it as Leo making a bid for the Pope’s endorsement in a campaign for best-actor Oscar for DiCaprio’s role in the recent blockbuster The Revenant. Though the Pope isn’t himself a member of the Academy, his endorsement is sure to have significant value with members of the organization.

However, the meeting was kept relatively quiet, without any photoshoots or press releases, unlike Jolie’s press-laden meet-and-greet. Fans of DiCaprio saw the meeting with the Pope for what it really was: a characteristically honest meeting about real issues between two similarly minded public figures, who are seeking real answers for real problems.

Leonardo is no stranger to the public eye, but as the Daily Mail points out, DiCaprio is “committed to saving the planet,” and it has become clear that his heart lies with his art and real environment issues. He won’t sully his crusade for a better planet with ploys for attention. Twitter users know DiCaprio is a great actor, and also an honest man with a real place in his heart for real issues.

With two such public figures meeting, we can expect to see a huge surge of support for the climate and environmental issues DiCaprio and Pope Francis hold so dear to their hearts.

[Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)]