Villanova hosts speaker Archbishop Desmond Tutu

By Christine Ernest
October 14, 2004

Lori Iannella

Archbishop Desmond Tutu reached more than South Africa with his message of restorative justice. His message of “healing justice” made an impact on his audience last Wednesday, Oct. 6.

A couple thousand were in attendance at the pavilion of Villanova University to hear Tutu speak of his experiences with his time spent on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

Tutu devoted a good portion of his presentation to explaining how he overcame the apartheid regime in South Africa without using any violence.

Tutu said, “restorative justice is…healing justice…[it is] never giving up on anyone…believing in the essential goodness of people as created in the image of God…”

Tutu displayed his warm and friendly personality as he said, “I am wearing a sweater they have given me,” and then opened his jacket to show off his Villanova sweater.

It was his personal anecdotes from his point of view as the head of the Truth Commission that really showed the audience what a powerful leader Tutu was for breaking down the apartheid regime without an ounce of violence. Tutu told the audience that he “knows how difficult it is to say ‘I’m sorry.'”

An example of his personal stories from South Africa included the story of a young man blinded in the apartheid reign that testified before the Truth Commission. Tutu said that when the young man was asked how he felt about testifying he “smiled and said you have given me back my eyes.”

This story of the young man illustrates one of the key points of Tutu’s presentation as he emphasized that “there can be no future without forgiveness.”

After his speech, the floor was opened up to the audience for a short question and answer session. Then a reception followed in the Atrium of Villanova University where select individuals got a chance to personally meet Tutu.

Last Wednesday night was not only the recollection of Tutu’s experiences on the Truth Commission, it was also a night where his message of forgiveness reached the Radnor Community. Every member of the crowded Pavilion shuffled off to their respected cars when it was through, but Tutu’s message remained in their hearts and minds for one of his last statements of that night was one of the most powerful. Tutu ended his presentation when he said, “if peace could happen in South Africa, then peace can happen any and everywhere.”

Posted to the Web by Lori Iannella

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Christine Ernest

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