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.