Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, has died.
In many ways, he was truly a hero. He was imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years; yet he felt no malice and spent his remaining years endeavoring to bring about positive societal change. He was a major force in ending apartheid in South Africa.
And yet, there is another side: Nelson Mandela supported and implemented his nation’s most liberal abortion policy, making abortion for any reason legal up to 20 weeks, and later if it was deemed necessary. He did nothing to stem the rising incidence of AIDS.
But in the past few days, I’ve read so many commenters who seem to want either to canonize him, or condemn him.
Men are more complex than that. My grandmother used to recite a poem which began, “There’s a little bit of good in the worst of us, and a little bit of bad in the best of us.” That’s true! This statement released by Bishop Thomas Tobin, bishop of Providence, says it well.