His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI waves from a balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City
Dharamshala, April 20 - His Holiness the Dalai Lama congratulated His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI who was elected yesterday by the conclave of cardinals in a closed door election as thousands of Catholics waited outside St. Peters Square at the Vatican City for their new leader. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany became the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
In a message addressed to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote, "I would like to express my warm felicitations on your being elected the new Pope. I look forward to having the honour and pleasure of calling on your Holiness in the near future during one of my visits to Europe."
"As your Holiness probably knows I respect all the major religious traditions of the world. I therefore have much admiration for Pope John Paul’s attempts to develop better understanding with the various religious traditions. And in my attempts to interact with them over the past three decades or so we, the Tibetan Buddhists, have developed a special and close affinity with Christianity in general and particularly with the Catholics. I look forward to our continued dialogues and interactions that I believe within their own way contribute towards better understanding and harmony in the world."
The new Pope said that he wanted to continue "an open and sincere dialogue" with other religions.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in New Delhi yesterday after a successful visit to Japan and will leave today for Gangtok, Sikkim.