Some people transcend tribe and nation, race and religion. They belong to all of us.
Here is a communication between two we have been blessed to know in our time. Let it suffice for now to be a placeholder for further consideration of the transcendent truths both men represented.
Remarks John Paul II made to President Nelson Mandela on his arrival in South Africa in 1995.
“I wish to pay tribute to you, Mr. President, who, after being a silent and suffering “witness” of your people’s yearning for true liberation, now shoulder the burden of inspiring and challenging everyone to succeed in the task of national reconciliation and reconstruction. I remember our meeting at the Vatican in June 1990, shortly after your release from prison. In your kind words of welcome today I recognize the same spirit which sustained you then in the ideal of achieving a better life for the peoples of this Nation…. Let us commend to God in our prayers all those who have worked and suffered and continue to strive for that day when everyone’s dignity will be fully acknowledged, respected and safeguarded throughout this land and all over this Continent.
South Africa refers to itself as a “Rainbow Nation”, indicating the diversity of races, ethnic groups, languages, culture and religions which characterize it. And you have the extremely rich concept of UBUNTU to guide you, according to the saying that “People are made people through other people”. Certainly, the Government of National Unity’s commitment to bring all the citizens of this land together in a united, fair and more prosperous society is shared by South Africa’s Religious leaders, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu and Traditional, all of whom I greet with cordial esteem. By insisting on the things which unite, all believers can “build together”, using their spiritual resources to keep alive the flame of hope on the horizon of humanity’s march towards a brighter future.”
–Blessed John Paul II
Arrival Remarks in South Africa
Johannesburg International Airport
16 September 1995