Catholics around the world are mourning Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95. In a telegram to Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president, Pope Francis praised 'the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth.'
- The Catholic Herald
He added: 'I pray that the late president’s example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the centre of their political aspirations.'
Mandela had been receiving home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. Mr Zuma announced his death on South Africa national television on Thursday evening.
Mr Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994, leading the country’s emergence from the apartheid era after 27 years in prison.
He received support from Catholics during his struggle against apartheid. In 1984 he wrote a letter from jail praising the Catholic Church’s engagement in social issues and expressing his appreciation for the pastoral care provided by Catholic priests on Robben Island, where he was held captive for almost two decades.
In 1995 he welcomed Blessed John Paul II to South Africa.
Photo: Schoolchildren hold candles and portraits of former South African President Nelson Mandela during a prayer ceremony at a school in Ahmedabad, India
Catholics around the world mourn Nelson Mandela (The Catholic Herald)