Message from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the Dalai Lama and the 90th anniversary of the Buddhist Society.
It is a joy and a privilege to offer my greetings and good wishes to the Dalai Lama on the occasion of his 80th birthday and, at the same time to congratulate the Buddhist Society on their 90th anniversary. I do this on behalf of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s groundbreaking teaching document, Nostra Aetate which ushered in a new era of friendship and dialogue with members of other religions. During that time the Dalai Lama has been a key partner in this dialogue.
I would particularly mention His Holiness’s teaching on compassion and on the environment which has found a real resonance among all those people who seek to create a safer and a more forgiving world. This has also helped to create a situation in which good relations between Christians and Buddhists are being fostered and promoted so that they can make a common cause in the deeply troubled world we share. Pope Francis’s recent Encyclical on the Environment exemplifies this. As he said in that document “A deep communion with the rest of nature cannot be real if our heart lack tenderness, compassion and concern for our fellow human beings“ (Laudato Si’, 91).
For many reasons, therefore, it is right that we congratulate the Dalai Lama today. Ad multos annos!
With every good wish,
HE Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster and
President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales