December 6, 2013

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, said the death of Nelson Mandela marked the passing of an era and an icon, Dec. 6, the day after the South African and world leader died in his homeland.

His statement follows.

Christians, people of faith and all people of good will mourn the news of Nelson Mandela’s death, the passing of an icon and an era.

In his struggle against apartheid rule, Nelson Mandela was a light for peace and equality in his country and for the whole world. His years of imprisonment exemplified the suffering experienced by so many who seek justice. As president of South Africa, Mandela sought to undo the structures that marginalized and impoverished people – work Pope Francis is now challenging the entire world to imitate.

The prayers of the bishops of the United States are with the Mandela family and with the people, the Church and the bishops of South Africa. We thank God for his brave witness and for all men and women who work against injustice and seek, in the words of Pope John XXIII, “to make the human sojourn on earth less sad.”