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10/13/2021 Vatican (International Christian Concern) – Concerned about the relations with China, the Vatican did not invite the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama to the recent global interfaith talk on climate change.

On October 4, roughly 40 representatives of different religious traditions gathered in the Holy See to participate in the one-day meeting “Faith and Science: Towards COP26” ahead of the U.N. climate conference. Together, they made a powerful appeal to governments to commit to ambitious targets at the upcoming U.N. climate conference, while promising to do their own part to lead their faithful into more sustainable behavior.

While leaders of other major faith groups representing Sunni and Shiite Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, Sikhism, and more were in attendance, the prominent Dalai Lama was absent.

The decision to not invite the Dalai Lama reflects Pope Francis’s efforts to improve relations with China. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for the Holy See’s Relations with States, told the Reuters news agency that the Vatican’s relations with Beijing now are difficult but he noted that the Dalai Lama knows that he is well-respected by the pope.

However, in a response to Radio Free Asia, Ngawa Tsegyam, secretary at the Dalai Lama’s office, denied that the Vatican had reached out to their office to communicate the matter.

Representative of Office of Tibet in Taiwan, Kelsang Gyaltsen Bawa, also told RFA, “If not inviting the Holiness Dalai Lama to participate would result in the mercy towards Catholics, house churches, and Buddhism by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it would be worthy. Nevertheless, the CCP will never give up on cracking down on religion within its borders.”

Kelsang Gyaltsen criticized that the Vatican does not dare to say no to an authoritarian regime and is kowtowing to the CCP, which is against the Holy See’s values and detrimental to Pope Francis’ reputation.

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