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Dalai Lama says Pope Francis is unwilling to meet: ‘It could cause problems’

The Dalai Lama speaks in 2011 at the Newark Peace Education Summit in Newark, N.J., where Nobel laureates compared different visions of nonviolence and reconciliation. Photo by Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger.
The Dalai Lama speaks in 2011 at the Newark Peace Education Summit in Newark, N.J., where Nobel laureates compared different visions of nonviolence and reconciliation. Photo by Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger.

The Dalai Lama speaks in 2011 at the Newark Peace Education Summit in Newark, N.J., where Nobel laureates compared different visions of nonviolence and reconciliation. Photo by Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger

ROME (RNS) The Dalai Lama said Thursday (Dec. 11) that he would not meet Pope Francis while in Rome for a summit of Nobel Peace Prize winners.

“The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems,” the Dalai Lama said, hinting that the Vatican may be unwilling to irk China, a country with which it wants to engage and perhaps re-establish diplomatic relations.

But the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, declined to say whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting with the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists.

“Pope Francis obviously holds the Dalai Lama in very high regard, but he will not be meeting any of the Nobel laureates,” Lombardi told journalists.

The Dalai Lama advocates greater rights for Tibet, a region China annexed in 1950. In 1959, he led a failed uprising against the Chinese government there and fled to India, where he is now based.

The Dalai Lama had a brief meeting with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in October 2006 but was not granted papal audiences during previous visits he made to Rome in 2007 and 2009, according to the Italian wire service ANSA.

The Vatican has not had diplomatic ties with China since 1951, and its Communist leaders object to meetings between heads of state and the Tibetan leader.

En route to South Korea in August, Pope Francis sent greetings to the Chinese, as customary when the pope flies over a foreign country. He also hinted at the possibility of closer relations if the Communist leaders gave Catholics more rights and allowed the Vatican to appoint bishops there.

Lombardi said the pope would send a message to the three-day summit of Nobel winners.

YS/MG END MCKENNA

About the author

Josephine McKenna

Josephine McKenna has more than 30 years' experience in print, broadcast and interactive media. Based in Rome since 2007, she covered the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and election of Pope Francis and canonizations of their predecessors. Now she covers all things Vatican for RNS.

7 Comments

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  • Pope Francis just lost me. He is just another coward, at the level of the corrupt South-African President Zuma. If he belives that he conquers the Chinese with such acts he couldn’t be more wrong. Cardinal Emeritus of Hong Kong, Zen, is telling the Holly See for decades that the Chinese are experts at playing the game of the cat and the mouse. And they dispise, above all, mouses. If he had some diplomatic sense, something he hasn’t, the Pope would recieve the Dalai Lama with all the other Peace Nobel laureates, in this way diluting the political reading of his message. Unfortunately, Buenos Aires used to have the greatest concentration of shrinks in the word, not of diplomats.

  • All either useless icon does is meet greet and proclamate, so it ain’t like they can’t find the time to meet. What a crock.

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