Pope meeting with Dalai Lama now on 'informal' agenda

Catholic World News, Nov 29, 2007

The Vatican -- An informal meeting between the Pope and the Dalai Lama could still take place, despite an announcement earlier this week stating that a meeting of the two leaders would not occur.

French Newspaper La Croix reports that Vatican Press Office director Fr Federico Lombardi said the Pontiff could hold a "private meeting" while the Buddhist leader is on his tour of Italy next month.

Fr Federico Lombardi told reporters that he cannot rule out the possibility that the Pope might meet informally with the Dalai Lama.

He went on to explain the earlier statement that "no audience is planned" referred to an official visit, listed on the papal schedule. If an informal meeting takes place it will not appear on the Pope's official agenda.

In October 2006, the Pope met with the Dalai Lama, but the Vatican underlined the meeting was a "private courtesy visit" and the conversation was confined exclusively to religious matters.