A light in the darkness

If you think the application of Catholic social teaching is limited only to Catholics, think again.

According to a Catholic News Service article, Nelson Mandela, the South African human rights activist who currently is hospitalized with a recurring lung infection, was so inspired by the Church’s social justice work that he wrote a letter from prison to the country’s first black Catholic archbishop, Stephen Naidoo. Following his release, Mandela, a Methodist, spoke often about the intersection of religion and society, acknowledging the part the Church plays.

“The Catholic Church in particular has played a very important role in the fight for justice,” he said at a 1993 Mass in Cape Town.

And it was this shared dedication to justice that kept Mandela going. Upon his emergence from 27 years of captivity, he reentered the world with an intense zeal for justice. Specifically, he vied for securing majority rule and democracy for South Africans through peaceful means. He spoke of reconciliation, and he practiced what he preached.

Sadly, it’s evident that Mandela’s dream of a world without hate or discrimination has yet to come to fruition. But consider for a moment how his dream might be carried out right here, right now. What would that look like?

Maybe it’s time we look at these issues through the lens of great leaders such as Mandela. Why not take up his call to do something to make the world a better place?