Pope declines to meet Dalai Lama

Pope Benedict will not meet the Dalai Lama when he visits Italy next month, despite earlier reports the two religious leaders had planned a meeting.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi said "no audience is planned" between the Holy Father and the Tibetan spiritual leader. He said such a meeting had never been confirmed.

Reuters reports an anonymous Vatican official had said in October that the Pope would meet the Dalai Lama on 13 December.

This would have been their second since the Pope's election in 2005, the first being in October 2006.

The Vatican underlined that meeting was a "private courtesy visit" and the conversation was confined exclusively to religious matters. That papal audience with the Buddhist leader did not appear on the official Vatican calendar, Catholic World News reports.

However, in November, the Chinese government said a meeting would "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people" and urged the Pontiff to take action showing he "is sincere in improving relations".

AsiaNews chief Fr Bernardo Cervellera said he is disappointed the encounter will not take place.

"It was clear from the start that Beijing was not happy about this meeting," he told Reuters.

Pope John Paul II met the Dalai Lama a number of times during his 27-year papacy and the Dalai Lama attended a major inter-religious conference hosted by John Paul in 1986.

Pope will not meet with Dalai Lama (Reuters, 26/11/07)

Pope will not meet with Dalai Lama (Catholic World News, 26/11/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Dalai Lama of Tibet
Saudi Arabia (Wikipedia)

Pope's landmark meetings with Saudi King, Dalai Lama (CathNews, 01/11/07)
Pope hopes to expand Vatican diplomacy (CathNews, 13/05/05)
Vatican gives Dalai Lama visit low profile (CathNews, 28/11/03)
Dalai Lama to visit Pope tomorrow (CathNews, 26/11/03)
Dalai Lama urges Christians not to convert to Buddhism (CathNews, 24/11/05)

27 Nov 2007