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.