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Dalai Lama expresses condolence for former Pope’s death

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Former Pope Benedict XVI has passed away aged 95 at the Vatican city on Saturday (Photo/POLITICO)

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Jan. 2: Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed sadness over the death of former Pope Benedict XVI who passed away on Saturday aged 95. He passed away at a monastery in Vatican City, according to a statement from the Vatican.

In a letter to the Apostolic Nunciature in New Delhi, he wrote, “I pray for our spiritual brother and offer my condolences to the members of the Catholic Church. When I had the opportunity to meet Pope Benedict I found there was much we agreed about in relation to human values, religious harmony and the environment. During his papacy, he worked hard to promote these issues. He lived a meaningful life”.

The octogenarian Tibetan leader who promotes religious harmony as one of his lifelong commitments also wrote, “I have been engaged in dialogue with members of the Catholic community for several decades and have learnt much about their experience. I believe these exchanges have contributed to a better religious understanding between us.

“At a time when we are seeing tension in several parts of the world, we can take a lesson from the life of Pope Benedict and do what we can to contribute to religious harmony and global peace.”

The Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was the first pontiff in almost 600 years to resign rather than hold office for life citing his advanced age. He was elected Pope in April 2005, after John Paul II’s death. During his reign, Pope Benedict attempted to soften the Vatican’s stance on homosexuality and abortion. His handling of the sexual abuse crisis by Catholic priests received criticism despite his hands-on approach on the matter.  

The former Pope’s body was moved to St. Peter’s Basilica on Monday morning where followers can pay their final respects, the Vatican said.

2 Responses

  1. Pope Benedict XIV is believed to be a great theologian of the Roman Catholic Church. He seems to be from the school of strict observance of ones own vows and the acceptance of poverty and abstinence of immorality rather than opening up to new frontiers of belief and acceptance of new sexual and social developments such as homosexuality and women empowerment in the church by appointing women priests etc Whether they were unpopular in this day and age is a different matter. He was not keen with such drastic changes that he believed were not the true Christian ethos. He strongly believed in celibacy and acceptance of poverty that were instrumental in serving his saviour. HH The Dalai Lama is a great scholar in Buddhist theology and is one of the most celebrated celibate monk and moral authority who abjures wealth, power and status. It was therefore no coincidence that the pontiff met the Dalai Lama in 2005. As the Dalai Lama stated that their philosophies were similar in many ways. They had a one on one talk during the meeting and this was in keeping with the tradition of Pope John Paul who met the Dalai Lama few times and was sympathetic to the Dalai Lama’s cause of Tibet’s occupation and domination by a foreign power. John Paul was Polish and Poland had a similar history of Soviet subjugation and domination. Pope Benedict XIV knew and sympathised with the Dalai Lama like his predecessor but the present pop Francis of Argentina has shown no inclination to meet the Dalai Lama and is firmly under the thumb of communist China. He claims he doesn’t understand Chinese ways but respects them. The Vatican under Pop Francis agreed with the Chinese Government, that the cardinals chosen by the CCP will be recognised by the Vatican! However, this has come under severe criticism and denounced as a sell out to the CCP by respected Senior Catholic luminaries like former Hong Kong’s Cardinal Josef Zen, who said, “ They are sending the flock into the mouths of the wolves. It’s an incredible betrayal”. The Argentinian Pope sold out his religious sanctity to the Chinese communists and in order to curry favour from the CCP, he has to date refused to meet the Dalai Lama! If he was a truly religious man, he should have the courage to meet the Dalai Lama as a fellow believer instead of sucking up to the Godless Chinese communists. No wonder, the Dalai Lama has sent his condolence message to Revered Pop Benedict XIV demise because like the Dalai Lama abdicated and devolved his political power in 2011, Benedict also gave up his papal power which has never happened in six hundred years of Papal history. Pope Benedict understood the commonality of religious traditions and religious believers even if they may have different philosophies. It goes to show the spiritual depth of Benedict and the hollowness of the present Pop Francis who would rather be comrades of Godless Chinese communists than be a spiritual friend of a world religious and peace icon like the Dalai Lama.

    1. For most religious organizations, there needs to be a revenue stream of benefactors for relevance to the public. The Church has also had ties to the mafia, the Haj is essentially Disney-fication of a pilgrimage and that is the case for many faiths that use human frailty to line their coffers. As swaths of the of globe become more secular, that source of funding may get directed elsewhere where people feel like they get more for their “investments”. After the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, many were choosing to change faiths based on who they perceived to be offering them more. Given that half of the global population is women and there are many “minority” populations who are quite vocal and have a strong lobby that have been marginalized by various faiths, adapting is just something that is natural with a democratic environment. However one perceives the idea of God or morality, the fact is that that concept does effect the inhabitants of this planet and pushing any sort of agenda as a particular interpretation of divinity needs to be inclusive of different ideas. For example is there a common interpretation of why humanity faced this coronavirus pandemic among various faiths?

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