Dalai Lama hails new pope, lauds choice of name

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gives a religious talk at the Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi, India, Saturday, March 9, 2013. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

NEW DELHI—The Dalai Lama Thursday congratulated Argentinian cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio on his election as pope and lauded his decision to become the first pontiff ever to go by the name Francis.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who fled to India after a failed anti-Chinese uprising in his homeland in 1959, expressed his “sense of joy” in a letter to the first ever pope from the Americas.

“May I offer you my greetings and sense of joy on your historic election as the pope,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote from his northern Indian hilltop headquarters of Dharamsala.

“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,” the Dalai Lama said.

“I am moved to know that his is the name you have chosen for your papacy,” he said, recalling his meetings with many predecessors of the archbishop from Buenos Aires who was elected after five rounds of voting earlier Wednesday.

Papal names down the centuries are inextricably linked to the legacies of the men who have ruled the Church.

Bergoglio’s decision to become the first pope to go by the name Francis is seen as significant as the moniker draws on the legacy of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century founder of the Franciscan Order and a symbol of asceticism.

Many Western powers as well as India recognize the 77-year-old Buddhist monk as a rightful spiritual leader of the Tibetans but China views the Buddhist monk as a dangerous separatist.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHOD5EA75DBBUH53UKLRXRK764 Mang Teban

    Very few persons with inclination to spiritual matters have this sense of connectivity to a universal order. The Dalai Lama expresses his fascination to the name Francis of Assisi and must have admired the saint. By doing so, he has acknowledged the humanity of the pope with a mission to propagate charity (love) for the deprived and the Dalai Lama has the same mission to spread peace by bringing the virtues of humility and truth. Thus, China that has been persecuting the Dalai Lama ancestry is always the troublemaker and bully.

    It is a refreshing move by the Dalai Lama to congratulate the Catholic pope and there is still much work to do before the whole world, despite it being divided of different faiths (religions) can come together like fraternal brothers and sisters. May holy men and women grow in numbers and serve as models of unity and harmony.May the new pope be able to bring about reforms needed to strengthen the moral fiber of all Catholics and take the lead to our journey to our Divine Creator.

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