ROME -- Pope Francis received Leonardo DiCaprio at the Vatican on Thursday in a private audience. Like Pope Francis, the Hollywood film star is a passionate campaigner for environmental causes. He's also a UN Ambassador for Peace with a special emphasis on climate change.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CBS News that DiCaprio had requested the meeting because he recognized the "great moral and religious authority which the Holy Father has in this field," after the publication of his encyclical on the environment, "Laudato Sii."
The controversial 190-page teaching document, published in June 2015 , said the Earth was "beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth." In it, Pope Francis supported evidence of global warming, and criticized those who were "delaying the important decisions and pretending that nothing will happen." He called on all individuals and world leaders -- especially those from rich countries -- to act immediately and emphatically to protect "our common home."
DiCaprio is doing his part. In January, he announced a $15 million donation for environmental causes, bringing his total donations thus far to over $30 million. He is also attempting to build an eco-resort in Belize, central America, which would include a conservation area for conducting research.
Filed by CBS Radio News correspondent Anna Matranga in Rome.