The Dalai Lama and Pope John Paul II
DHARAMSHALA, March 15: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his “greetings and sense of joy” at the “historic” election of Pope Francis and said he was looking forward to meeting the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
“May I offer you my greetings and sense of joy on your historic election as the Pope,” the Dalai Lama said in a letter Thursday.
After his election on Wednesday, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, took the name Pope Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi considered as a lover of the poor.
The Tibetan spiritual leader, while recounting his visit to Assisi for an inter-religious gathering, said he was “moved” by the new Pope’s choice of name for his papacy.
“Although I am not very familiar with many Catholic saints, I do know about St Francis, having visited Assisi and attended inter-religious gatherings there. His discipline, the simplicity of his way of life and his love for all creatures are qualities that I find deeply inspiring. I am moved to know that his is the name you have chosen for your papacy.”
The Dalai Lama further wrote that he looked forward to meeting the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church and recalled his earlier cordial meetings with Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
“I am very pleased to have met and enjoyed friendly conversations with your immediate predecessors and, for the last forty years or so, have participated in fruitful exchanges with my Christian brothers and sisters. I hope that I may have the honour of calling on you too sometime in the near future.”