Pope denies Dalai Lama audience over China concern

The Vatican declines visit ‘for obvious reasons’

The Dalai Lama, flanked  by Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino, arrives at the opening of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Friday December 12th. The pope declined to meet the spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The Dalai Lama, flanked by Rome’s mayor Ignazio Marino, arrives at the opening of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome, Friday December 12th. The pope declined to meet the spiritual leader. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

 

Pope Francis has denied a private audience to the Dalai Lama because it could harm the Holy See’s already fraught relations with China, the Vatican said.

The request was declined “for obvious reasons concerning the delicate situation” with China, a Vatican spokesman said.

The Dalai Lama, in Rome for a meeting of Nobel Peace Prize winners, told Italian media he had approached the Vatican about a meeting but was told it would not be possible.

A senior official in the office of the Dalai Lama, said in an email: “His Holiness’ standard response has been that he is disappointed at not being able to call on His Holiness the Pope but he does not want to cause any inconvenience.”

A Vatican official, who asked not to be identified, said the decision was “not taken out of fear but to avoid any suffering by those who have already suffered” – a reference to Catholics in China who are loyal to the pope.

Reuters