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A placard for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu A placard for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu  (ANSA)

Archbishop Tutu ‘a beacon of truth and freedom’ for the world

Despite his death on Sunday at the age of 90, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu remains a beacon of freedom and truth for South Africans and people across the globe, according to Catholic Bishop Jan de Groef.

By Devin Watkins

As South Africans lament the death of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, the nation’s Catholic community is seeking to remember the legacy of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Among his many achievements, the Archbishop led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up to seek restorative—not retributive—justice for crimes committed during the apartheid era.

Faithful shepherd

The Catholic Bishop of Bethlehem in South Africa, Jan de Groef, was among those who recalled Archbishop Tutu as a “beacon” who “reminds us of our calling as shepherds.”

Speaking to Vatican News’ Claire Riobe, Bishop de Groef said he hoped all Church leaders might be faithful as the late Archbishop was.

“Archbishop Tutu was very engaged for the truth and for freedom, recognizing each and every person’s dignity,” said the Bishop. “So, that’s really something that remains in the hearts of people.”

Events are being held this week across South Africa to remember Archbishop Tutu, including ecumenical and interfaith services. His remains will be cremated and interred in the mausoleum of St. George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.

Ecumenical leader

The late Archbishop was also active in ecumenical efforts and maintained good relations with other denominations, including the Catholic Church.

On the same day as his death, Pope Francis sent his condolences for the death of the “servant of the Gospel” and paid tribute to his “promotion of racial equality and reconciliation in his native South Africa.”

Bishop de Groef said the local Church hopes to continue in its ecumenical efforts with other Christians to foster “that unity between us which is so important for South Africa, as well as for the whole world.”

Listen to the full interview
28 December 2021, 14:49