PopeWatch: Nelson Mandela

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Like almost all world leaders, Pope Francis has paid tribute to the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela:

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela, and I send prayerful condolences to all the Mandela family, to the members of the Government and to all the people of South Africa. In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss. Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations. With these sentiments, I invoke upon all the people of South Africa divine gifts of peace and prosperity.

One expects a certain amount of accentuating the positive and overlooking the negative when someone dies.  PopeWatch would not expect the Pope to critique the career of Mr. Mandela at this time.  However, PopeWatch does wish that the Pope had been a bit more careful in his phrasing.  Mr, Mandela doubtless deserves the lion’s share of the credit that the power transition, certainly not without violence, in South Africa, did not become a blood bath which it might well have become without the usually conciliatory and statesmanlike tone he followed after 27 years in South African jails.

However, when the Pope stated that Mr. Mandela promoted the human dignity of all South Africans he was incorrect.  Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, corrects the record:

“Many people around the world and in our own nation are mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela,” Bishop Tobin commented in a statement. “Indeed there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.

“There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa. In 1996 Mandela promoted and signed into law the ‘Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill’ that, according to the New York Times, ‘replaced one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.’”

Tobin continues: “While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children.”

 

 

 

21 Responses to PopeWatch: Nelson Mandela

  • A bit off-topic but I saw an article in the Atlantic by Ta-Neshi Coates praising Newt Gingrich who supported Mandela unlike many conservatives like Wm F. Buckley who were paid apologists for apartheid: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/gingrich-vs-the-right-on-apartheid-what-would-you-have-done/282138/

    O how the comboxers howled! Certainly no conservative, especially Newt could have principles!

  • However, PopeWatch does wish that the Pope had been a bit more careful in his phrasing.
    LOL, d’ya think? Pope Francis, careful about his phrasing??? Yeah okay, sure. Has it not occurred to you that this Pope is NEVER careful about his phrasing, especially when it comes to press releases? And please, do not blame this one on the media. Ahhh, but people will constantly make excuses. What will it take to convince people that maybe he says what he means? What would Jesus say about this? Do you think He would have praised Mandela for promoting “human dignity”? Or condemned him for his promotion of the abortion of thousands? Something to ponder….

  • I suppose we could argue that those not yet born are not citizens…..

  • @Foxfier
    “we” as in who? You or the Pope?
    Either way, in God’s eyes there is no argument here. In His court, your argument would be thrown out. Case closed.

  • “Has it not occurred to you that this Pope is NEVER careful about his phrasing,”

    Judging from that statement Bob I can only assume that you have not been a regular reader of PopeWatch.

  • He doesn’t have much of a sense of irony, either, Donald.

  • True Foxfier. I assume he must be a stranger to the blog or he would not attempt to get into a combox scuffle with you.

  • Heaven knows it’s easy… though not as easy as the guy who tried to argue against the humanity of the unborn while I was getting kicked in the ribs by my son!

  • My apologies Foxfier. I read you wrong…I was taking you literally. Sorry, I mistook you for a pro-abort troll, LOL.

    Donald, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year (I like many of your points), but rarely post. I understand that PopeWatch is observing a Pope who is causing uneasiness among the faithful (and with good reason). It”s just that phrase you used (which I italicized in my first post), is getting a bit old. You see it on every Catholic blog, every time the Pope puts his foot in his mouth. It’s becoming such a regular occurrence, it’s a bit disappointing, huh? Can you impeach a Pope, LOL (God forgive me)?

    Question: Do you think we’re going to be making excuses for him through his entire papacy? Or do you think he’ll snap out of his spontaneous responses, and actually think about the repercussion of his words? Someone has to be telling him the negative effect he’s having on many devout Catholics.

    Everybody talks about how humble he is, but read the 12 steps of humility.
    Short “sensible” and subdued speech, abstinence from laughter, reticence until questioned…….I mean, I’m no angel (and not really one to talk), but I’ve read so many books on the lives of the saints, and I’m not seeing that same sort of humility that our media is seeing. Maybe it’s just me. I want the best from this Pope, and I pray that he takes care of the Church, but honestly, he worries me more than any other Pope. I had a bad feeling when he started his pontificate, and over time I am seeing my gut feeling was right. I pray for Pope Francis. That is all we can really do.

  • what about whether ANC South Africa would’ve become the People’s Republic of South Africa had the party won prior to 1989? Not necessarily even by Mandela himself, could’ve been some kind of factional struggle.

    maybe paranoid, but I’d say it was a possibility. People act like Reagan’s anti-Communism over everything foreign policy was inhumane but there did happen to be two Communist southern African countries at the time.

  • My apologies Foxfier. I read you wrong…I was taking you literally. Sorry, I mistook you for a pro-abort troll, LOL.

    All good– I don’t even get to READ here as often as I use to, let alone comment or write posts!

    Question: Do you think we’re going to be making excuses for him through his entire papacy?

    Always, and for every Pope.
    Hostile audiences will always manage to find something to exploit, and the less guarded you are the more you’ll be abused. They’ll make stuff up if they don’t find it.

    I’ve been told by many orthodox folks that he deeply appeals to them; I don’t get it, but I’m also the person who dislikes the “stand up and introduce yourself, new people and visitors!” tradition at some parishes.

  • I’m not seeing that same sort of humility that our media is seeing.

    They mean humble like plain, simple and not bold.

  • “I suppose we could argue that those not yet born are not citizens…..” The state gives one citizenship and a tax bill. “their Creator” gives the one-celled human being a rational, immortal soul, sovereignty, free will and all unalienable human rights. The human soul’s will to live is the state’s right to life.
    “I’m also the person who dislikes the “stand up and introduce yourself, new people and visitors!” tradition at some parishes.” – I will not. I come to see Jesus Christ and all persons are in HIs Sacred Heart on the altar. After Consecration some priests leave the altar and profane their consecrated and washed hands with parishioners, who embarrass themselves kissing across the aisle, shaking hands and hugging. These are the same parishioners who might run one over in the parking lot.
    I wait for the crucifix to stand up. Wishing the gift of Christ’s peace from my heart to all by putting all people into the Sacred Heart of Jesus present on the altar after Consecration. It really troubles me that some priests leave Jesus unprotected on the altar after Consecration and treat Christ like He is only bread. There is time for peace and giving the rest of the day. Like have a cup of coffee or tea for me today. Usually I ask for one Hail Mary.
    I am greatly refreshed knowing that you, Foxfier, have some of my own thoughts. God bless you son. We need priests.

  • “While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children.”
    Thank you Bishop Tobin. I cannot imagine any person not recognizing the humanity of the unborn. And indeed I held Mandela in highest regard until now. What kind of a statesman does not know of the God-given gift of innocent human life?

  • “They mean humble like plain, simple and not bold.”
    I think they mean malleable. The media does not know respect, not even the truth. All the media know is manipulation and abuse. The media is a pack of wolves.

  • I figure they are just going more on emotion than reason– so bad words are for bad people, and good words for good. From their perspective, of course.

  • Foxfier: Let me say that again. God bless you and your son.

  • Thank you– with two big sisters, he’ll need it.

  • I wish Desmond Tutu was mentioned in all of this. Perhaps he was, but I haven’t heard anything about his pivotal role yet. He did much to implement the idea of truth and reconciliation through his theological writings and played an enormous role in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. It was not a mere matter of secular civilized values prevailing. It was more about the application of Christian principles and the belief that Christianity’s implications should be thought out and applied.

  • ;Jon, Mr.Mandela was asked to appear at this committee by Desmond Tutu…He refused! Regards From New Zealand

  • Trevor, forgive me if I sound ignorant, but why did Mandela refuse to appear at the committee?

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