Vol. 17 No. 25
December 9 - 30, 2013
South African cardinal says iconic Mandela had touch of humanity
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Dec. 6, 2013—Nelson Mandela, who
led the struggle to replace South Africa’s apartheid regime with a
multiracial democracy, died Dec. 5 at his home in Johannesburg.Mandela, 95, became the coun
try’s rst black president in 1994.
He was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1993.
One of the world’s most re-vered statesmen, Mandela had a touch of humanity rarely seen in political leaders, said Cardi-
nal Wilfrid Napier of Durban,
South Africa in an interview with Catholic News Service earlier this year.Cardinal Napier represent-ed the South African Catholic Church in discussions between Mandela and church leaders
beginning in 1990, following
Mandela’s release after 27 years in prison, until he retired from
public life in 2004.
Cardinal Napier said he came to treasure Mandela through regular meetings church leaders had with his African National Congress in the transition from apartheid to democracy.“I always felt we should in-troduce ourselves to him again, but it was never necessary,” said the cardinal, who was president of the Southern African Catholic
Bishops’ Conference from 1987 to 1994.
Mandela “remembered names and faces and always gave us a hearty welcome,” he said.“I came to realize that if he had met someone he had no trouble remembering their names or where they were from. To him, people mattered because of who they were, not the position they held,” he said. “That’s what I really treasure about the man.”Negotiations between Man-dela and South Africa’s apart-
heid regime began in 1989 while
he was still imprisoned. The
late Archbishop Denis Hurley of Durban told Catholic News
Service at the time that he was “astonished” to hear that the notoriously intransigent former President P.W. Botha had ap-proached Mandela to discuss negotiating an end to the armed struggle against apartheid.The negotiations were fraught
with difculties, and Mandela
frequently called on the coun-try’s church leaders to help over-come the deadlocks, Cardinal Napier said.“When there was a problem, Mandela would say exactly how he saw the problem,” he said, noting that the South African leader was a “direct man and it was easy to engage with him.”Mandela’s humility and self-deprecating sense of humor were other qualities Cardinal Napier said he valued.
In February 2001, when Car
-dinal Napier was inducted into the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul II, Mandela was in Mozambique.“He tracked me down to St. Peter’s to congratulate me. He said, ‘Archbishop Napier, how wonderful that you’ve been pro-moted to this esteemed position and you still have time for all of us back home.’ I called him Mr. Mandela and he said, ‘No, it’s Madiba.’ He wished me luck and asked me to pass on his greetings to everyone there.”Mandela, who was born in
1918 into the Xhosa-speaking
Thembu people in a village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, was often called by his clan name ‘Madiba.’Cardinal Napier recalled a
1991 meeting at retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s On July 18, 2007, his 89th
birthday, Mandela formed The Elders, a council that aims to tackle global problems.In honor of Mandela’s birth-
day in 2011, U.S. President
Barack Obama called the South African leader “a beacon for the global community and for all who work for democracy, justice and reconciliation.”Two years earlier, the U.S.
and 192 other U.N. member
states created Nelson Mandela
International Day to honor the
African leader through acts of community service.
Every July 18, people around
the world take up Mande-la’s call for citizens to “take responsibility to change the world into a better place” by
donating 67 minutes of their time—one minute for each year
of Mandela’s struggle against
white-minority rule—to help
-ing others.The parishioners of Regina Mundi Church in Soweto are among thousands of South Africans who have heeded the call, said Oblate Father Bene-dict Mahlangu, a priest at the parish.
On July 18, 2011, members of
the Catholic Women’s League
were at the church at 6 a.m. to
prepare a special meal for un-employed and homeless people in and around Soweto, Father Mahlangu said, recalling that Mandela came to a service at the church to celebrate his birthday
The church, the largest in Soweto, served as a refuge for anti-apartheid activists for de-cades. Bullet holes in the ceiling and the broken marble altar have been preserved and serve as reminders of the apartheid era.
Asian bishops encourage biblically-based apostolates
PATTAYA, Thailand, Dec. 6, 2013—The
Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences is hosting a seminar on biblical apostolates and the new evangelization this weekend, drawing clerics, religious, and laity from across the continent.“The main crux is to reawaken the mis-sionary challenge of the Word,” Fr. Jacob Theckanath, executive director of the bishops’ conference, told CNA, explaining “Crossing the Borders: Renewed Biblical Apostolate,”
being held Dec. 5-7 in the Thai city of Pattaya, located 90 miles southeast of Bangkok.
The seminar marks the release of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium,” on the new evangelization; Fr. Alberto Rossa, an Argentine missionary, has supplied copies of the document to the participants.The group aims to draw on both Pope
Francis’ text and “Verbum Domini,” Bene
dict XVI’s apostolic exhortation on the Word
of God in the Church’s life and mission, to amplify the role of the biblical apostolate.The seminar was also inspired by the message of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences’ tenth plenary assembly, pub-
lished in December 2012, on “renewed evan
-gelizers” for the new evangelization in Asia.
Drawing people from 19 countries across
Asia and Oceania, the seminar aims to help participants produce more effective biblical apostolates, using lectio divina and integrat-ing missionary zeal for the new evangeliza-tion into all forms of biblical and pastoral ministry, Fr. Theckanath explained.The Christian community should not be “introverted” with their use of the Bible, but rather carry and integrate the Gospel into all walks of life, he stressed.Fr. Theckanath was encouraged by the “tremendous representation of the laity,” making up half of the participants in the seminar, calling it a “positive sign of the interest and hunger for the Word of God.”
Asian bishops' federation's 2013 biblical seminar in Thailand.
Over 10,000 youth to send birthday card to Pope Francis
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2013—More than 10,000 young
people have signed a giant birthday card for Pope Francis, offering their prayers and well-wishes for the Holy Father’s
77th birthday on Dec. 17.
“We wanted to give the Pope a gift he would truly appreciate; something he would be proud of,” said Mark Nelson, founder of Catholic to the Max, the Ohio-based arts and gifts outlet company behind the initiative.
The 4-foot-tall card consists
of a tri-fold plaque featuring an image and prayer of one of the Holy Father’s favorite Marian devotions, “Mary, Un-doer of Knots.” After collecting both physical and digital signatures, Catholic to the Max intends to send the card to the Pope later this month.Nelson said that the idea to give the Holy Father gifts of prayer and service came from
the Pope’s rst “Urbi et orbi,”
when he asked that the faithful pray for him before he imparted his blessing.“From day one, he has asked all of us to pray for him and to serve the poor. This is our response,” Nelson said.The card traveled to the National Catholic Youth Con-ference in Indianapolis last month and acquired signatures
from more than 10,000 young
people.Now that the card is back in Steubenville, Ohio, it has been gathering signatures at local Catholic parishes and Francis-can University.A website has also been cre-ated to allow even more youth to digitally sign the card, which will be sent in time to reach the Holy Father for his birthday.Well-wishers can choose from different spiritual gifts or works of mercy to give the Pontiff on his birthday, such as visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary or serving the poor.Those wishing to sign the card can do
so until Dec. 9, when
the pages containing physical and digital signatures will be or-ganized and bound together with the Mar-ian image and sent to the Holy Father.To learn more about Catholic to the Max’s project, visit pope-francisbirthdaycard.com.
w w w . c a t h o l i c n e w s . c o m A n t o n i o n G o n s a l v e s / C N A
Priest lauds Pope's commitment to protection of children
The founder of a new center aiding victims of abuse and their families praised the “courageous” actions of Pope Francis in facing the issue, stressing also the importance of helping
victims to heal. Discussing a new commission authorized by
Pope Francis which seeks to increase efforts preventing the
abuse of minors, Father Fortunato Di Noto stated that “the
commission is a proof” of the Pope's “commitment to prevent
abuses and take care of the victims.” Fr. Di Noto is originally
from Sicily, and is the founder of the new “Meter House” in
Rome, which ofcially opened Dec. 9 and offers psychological,
spiritual and legal assistance to both victims of abuse, as well as their families.
Pope says caring for sick brings 'the smile of God'
Pope Francis released his message for the World Day of the Sick Dec. 7, emphasizing the important role of hope both for those
who suffer and for their caregivers. “When we come together, with tenderness, with those who have need of care, we carry the hope and the smile of God in contradiction to the world,” said the Pope’s message. Because of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, Pope Francis explained, “we are placed in this
world before the mystery of God’s love for us, which lls us
with hope and courage: hope, because in the design of God’s love even the night of suffering opens to the Easter light; and courage, to confront every adversity in his company, united to Him.”
Vatican fnance group signs agreement with German
The Vatican's nancial watchdog, the Financial Information
Authority, has signed a memorandum of understanding with
its German counterpart, the Federal Criminal Police Ofce.
René Bruelhart, director of the Financial Information Author-
ity, stressed in a Dec. 4 press release “this memorandum
strengthens the FIA's international reach and further integrates
the Holy See and the Vatican City State with a coordinated global effort to ght money laundering and the nancing
of terrorism.” Bruelhart added that the “signing underlines our fruitful relationship, and will further facilitate our joint efforts.”
On Marian feast, Pope Francis prays for holiness
On a day dedicated to celebrating the Mother of God, Pope Francis made a special trip in Rome to pray before a tradi-tional statue of Mary. “Enkindle in all of us a renewed desire for holiness: may our words glow with the splendor of truth, may our works resound with the song of charity, may purity and chastity live in our bodies and in our hearts, may our lives express the presence of all the beauty of the gospel,” he
prayed on Dec. 8. Pope Francis had crossed the city to Piazza
di Spagna, where on the top of a tall ancient Roman column
stands a statue of the Virgin Mary under the title of “Our Lady
of the Immaculate Conception.” (CNA)
Pope, with Egyptian Catholic leader, prays for Middle East Christians
Concelebrating Mass with the leader of Egypt's Coptic Catho-lics, Pope Francis prayed for the safety and religious liberty of Christians in the Middle East. "Let real guarantees of religious liberty be given to all, together with the rights of Christians to live peacefully in the places where they were born, in the native
country they love as citizens of more than 2,000 years, in order
that they might contribute as always to the good of all," the
pope said Dec. 9 during morning Mass in the Vatican guest
-house, where he lives. Pope Francis concelebrated the Mass with Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak of Alexandria, Egypt, who had come to make his traditional gesture of "ecclesiastical communion" with the Holy See, following his appointment in
January by Pope Benedict XVI.
In conversations with parishioners, pope reveals he once was a bouncer
In addition to having worked sweeping oors and running
tests in a chemical laboratory as a teenager, Pope Francis re-vealed he also used to work as a bouncer. No longer kicking troublemakers out of clubs, he has discovered the secret to bringing people back, this time, into the church, according to
the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, Dec. 2. The
pope spent four hours at a parish visit of the church of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a working-class neighborhood on the
outskirts of Rome Dec. 1. He chatted informally with a large
number of parishioners before and after celebrating Mass. He told one group that when he was young, he worked as a bouncer, and that his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church.
Pope tells theologians 'sense of the faithful' is not majority opinion
Pope Francis said the church must pay attention to the 'sense
of the faithful' ('sensus delium') when exercising its teaching
authority, but never confuse that sense with popular opinion
on matters of faith. The pope made his comments Dec. 6, in an
address to members of the International Theological Commis-
sion, a Vatican advisory body. "By the gift of the Holy Spirit, the
members of the church possess the 'sense of the faith,'" he said. "It is a question of a kind of 'spiritual instinct,' which permits us to 'think with the church' and discern what is consistent with the apostolic faith and the spirit of the Gospel."
Red February: Pope to hold meeting with cardinals, create new ones
In late February, Pope Francis will be seeing red and a lot of it as he meets with the College of Cardinals and creates new
members. Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokes
man, told reporters Dec. 5 that the international Council of
Cardinals advising the pope on the reform of the Roman Curia and church governance decided to extend by a day their next
meeting. It will be Feb. 17-19. The spokesman also announced
that Pope Francis would hold a consistory or consultation with
the entire College of Cardinals Feb. 20-21 at the Vatican.
Cape Town ofce, where church
leaders and liberation movement leaders were introducing them-selves to each other.“I could see Mandela quite clearly from where I was seated, and when the Methodist bishop’s turn came to introduce himself Mandela said, “That’s my bish-op.’ He’s the only political leader I’ve known who’s ... allowed him-
self to be dened in terms of his
faith, not just in terms of political allegiance,” the cardinal said.After serving one term in
ofce, Mandela became a high-
profile ambassador for South Africa and helped with peace negotiations in other African countries.Mandela was diagnosed with
prostate cancer in 2001 and,
three years later, at the age of
85, retired from public life. He
made rare public appearances after that, but helped to secure South Africa’s right to host the
2010 FIFA World Cup soccer
On his 80th birthday, he mar
-ried Graca Machel, the widow of the former president of Mo-zambique.After his official retirement, his public appearances were primarily connected with the work of the Mandela Foun-dation, a charitable fund he founded.
Catholic leaders recall Mandela’s complicated legacy
WASHINGTON D.C., Dec. 7, 2013—Church
leaders in the United States offered prayers for the late Nelson Mandela, remembering both his courageous anti-apart-heid leadership and his promotion of one of the world’s most liberal abor-tion laws.Cardinal Timothy M.
Dolan, Archbishop of
New York, called Mande-la “a hero to the world.”“His bravery in defend-ing human rights against the great evil of apartheid made him a symbol of courage and dignity, as well as an inspiration to people everywhere.”He noted that Bl. John Paul II, in his visit to South Africa, called Mandela “a silent and suffering ‘witness’” of his people’s “yearning for true libera-tion.” The Pope had said Mandela had to “shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction.”Carolyn Woo, presi-dent of Catholic Relief Services, said the U.S.-based international relief agency mourns Man-dela’s passing, calling him “a champion in the struggle for justice and equality for all.”“His life inspires all of us to re-dedicate our-selves to helping the op-
pressed nd their voice
and their way to lives of meaning and dignity. His personal example of forgiveness and non-violence will challenge us to work for peace and reconciliation even in the
midst of deep conict.”
Mandela, who served as South Africa’s presi-
dent from 1994 to 1999, died Dec. 5 at the age of 95 of a lung infection.
The former prisoner won world recognition for opposing the oppressive racial segregation of the South African govern-ment’s apartheid policy.Mandela had been a campaigner against apart-
heid since 1952, when he
organized protests across South Africa against the policy. He was arrested on treason charges in
1956, and acquitted after a ve-year trial. He then
secretly sought help from other African nations and in England.After the South African government banned the
party in 1960, the move
-ment against apartheid became an armed strug-gle led by Mandela. In
1962 he was sentenced to ve years in jail for incit
-ing a strike and for leav-ing the country without a passport. Additional charges of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow
the government in 1964
led to a sentence of 27 years behind bars.Mandela’s then-wife Winnie and other cam-paigners worked to end apartheid and secure his freedom, helping trans-form him into an icon of human rights. He
was released in 1990. In 1993, he won the Nobel
Peace Prize with white South African president
F. W. De Klerk, who also
worked to end apartheid.Political violence killed
over 4,000 people ahead of the country’s rst post-
apartheid elections in
1994, when South Af
-rica’s black population voted overwhelmingly for Mandela. Upon his election as president, Mandela worked to help reconcile white and black South Africans.However, pro-life ad-vocates also noted a dark side to Mandela’s legacy, observing the key role he played in pushing for abortion in the country.
“In 1996, Mandela
signed into law the Choice on Termination of Preg-nancy Bill, which permits abortion on demand,” John Smeaton, director of Society for the Protec-tion of Unborn Children,
noted in a Dec. 6 post.
He warned against the temptation to become “swept away by person-ality cults,” saying that Catholics must “stand
up to public gures with
anti-life and anti-family records,” to defend these fundamental and founda-tional rights.
Mandela signed the 1996
Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which the New York Times said at the time “replace(d) one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.” The law granted state-financed abortion on demand up to
the 12th week; abortion on demand to the 20th week;
and abortion for “serious medical reasons” until birth.The Guttmacher In-stitute, a pro-abortion
group, wrote in 2000 that
in South Africa, “the lib-eralization of abortion be-came possible only after
the 1994 elections” which
made Mandela president and ended apartheid.
C a t h o l i c t o t h e M a x