Tuesday, 1 February 2011

South Africa's Catholic bishops are wrong to laud Nelson Mandela

The South African Catholic Bishops' Conference last week issued a statement of support for Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, following reports that he had been hospitalised. The statement said:
"Former President Mandela means different things to different people. To his family he is a veritable Patriarch who stands for and is an example of the virtues of a truly great and loving Father, who cares for all near and dear to him.

To the Nation, he is a great and inspiring leader, a true icon of the...reconciliation which we still need urgently.

To the international community, he is a unique African and global statesman who rose above personal, tribal, race and party interests in order to lead the South African nation through a difficult transition from apartheid to Demomcracy."
I am disturbed by this glowing tribute to Mr Mandela, in the light of his record on pro-life/pro-family issues (see below). It is absolutely vital that Catholic leaders do not allow themselves to become respecters of persons, swept away by personality cults. Catholic leaders have a duty to stand up to public figures with  anti-life and anti-family records, however praiseworthy their record may be on other issues. The sanctity of human life and the dignity of the family are the foundation and guarantee of all other human rights.

Nelson Mandela and abortion

Mr Mandela has been quoted as saying on abortion: "Women have the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies." In 1996, Mandela signed into law the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill, which permits abortion on demand. SPUC's pro-life colleagues in South Africa tells us that the bill was introduced into the South African parliament by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Mr Mandela's health minister. In addition, the wording of the new South African constitution, signed by Mr Mandela in 1996, had made the legalisation of abortion on demand a mere formality. Mr Mandela's African National Congress (ANC) has a strong ideological committment to abortion, with the ANC Women's League strongly behind the legalisation of abortion on demand. The ANC has for decades been in a close political and electoral alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP) (Mr Mandela pictured with SACP leader Joe Slovo) which also has a strong ideological committment to abortion.

Nelson Mandela and homosexuality*

The 1996 Constitution signed by Mr Mandela made South Africa the first country to forbid so-called discrimination on the grounds of "sexual orientation”. Homosexualist activists have honoured Mr Mandela for this provision.

Nelson Mandela and condoms

Mr Mandela is well-known for his activism regarding HIV/AIDS, through which he has many times promoted the use of condoms.

Nelson Mandela and "The Elders"
Mr Mandela is one of "The Elders", a group of retired international public figures dominated by leading international advocates of abortion, homosexuality and population control.

* The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
Sign up for alerts to new blog-posts and/or for SPUC's other email services
Follow SPUC on Twitter
Join SPUC's Facebook group
Please support SPUC. Please donate, join, and/or leave a legacy