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Vatican: Dalai Lama unable to attend Pope’s interfaith gathering

Vatican City – The Dalai Lama has turned down an invitation by Pope Benedict XVI to attend an interfaith gathering next week in the Italian town of Assisi, a senior Vatican official said Tuesday. Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, made the remark when asked whether the Vatican had bowed to pressure from Chinese authorities not to invite the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader to the Assisi gathering. ‘The Dalai Lama was invited, but informed us he could not attend due to a prior commitment. He will however, send (to Assisi) one of his representatives,’ Celata said. The Catholic cleric was speaking during a Vatican news conference to…