(TibetanReview.net, Dec13, 2014) – Pope Francis is not among the world leaders the Dalai Lama is going to be able meet as he arrived in Rome to take part in the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace laureates over Dec 12-14. It was not clear whether the pope had personally turned down a request for a meeting.
“The Vatican administration says it is not possible because it could cause problems,” cruxnow.com Dec 11 quoted the Dalai Lama as saying.
“Pope Francis obviously holds the Dalai Lama in very high regard, but he will not be meeting any of the Nobel laureates,” the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was quoted as saying. The Pope was only going to send a message to the three-day summit.
The Dalai Lama had a brief meeting with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Oct 2006 but did not have papal audiences during later visits he made to Rome in 2007 and 2009, Italian wire service ANSA was quoted as reporting.
Reports suggest that the Pope was avoiding the Dalai Lama in order not to offend China which has a large population of Catholic Christians worshipping in underground churches. While flying to South Korea in Aug 2014, Pope Francis had sent greetings to the Chinese, as is customary for him when flying 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, the report noted. The previous Pope had also entertained similar hopes, but without any result.
Others attending the summit are Mrs Shirin Ebadi, Mrs Leymah Gbowee, Mrs Tawakkol Karman, Mrs. Mairead Maguire, former President José Ramos-Horta, Mr David Trimble, former President Lech Walesa, Mrs Betty Williams and Mrs Jody Willaims, as well as representatives from organisations that had received the Nobel Peace Prize.