Latter-day Saint President Russell Nelson writes Pope Francis, expresses sympathy for Notre Dame fire

As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepares to unveil plans Friday to renovate its most iconic edifice, the Salt Lake Temple, its leader has extended sympathy to Pope Francis and hundreds of millions of Roman Catholics around the world after the devastating fire at Notre Dame in Paris.

President Russell M. Nelson, who met with Francis last month at the Vatican in the first-ever private audience between a Latter-day Saint prophet and a Catholic pontiff, wrote the pope a personal note expressing “profound sadness at the damage done to this sacred structure that has stood for more than 800 years,” according to a news release Thursday from the Utah-based faith.

Nelson, leader of more than 16 million Latter-day Saints across the globe, said he is “heartbroken by the tragedy to such an ageless symbol of faith,” the release said, “and shares his feelings of grief.”

In a tweet, Nelson said “Latter-day Saints are remembering our Catholic brothers and sisters” and praying that Notre Dame “will rise again in newness of life.”

The release also noted Latter-day Saint authorities have written similar letters to the archbishop of Paris, stating their “hope both for the people of France and the entire Christian world that Notre Dame will be restored as a symbol of faith," and to Bishop Oscar A. Solis, whom Francis appointed in 2017 to lead the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Latter-day Saints partner with Catholic charities in many developing nations. They also team up on religious liberty and family issues.

Said Nelson after his historic encounter with the pope: “What a sweet, wonderful man he is and how fortunate the Catholic people are to have such a gracious, concerned, loving and capable leader.”