By Emil Hagamu, Regional Coordinator for English-Speaking Africa
Gerard Tlali Lerotholi, OMI, the Archbishop of Maseru in Lesotho, has been a strong defender of life throughout his priesthood. He first came in contact with Human Life International when I met him in February 2010. The Archbishop immediately developed a keen interest in having an HLI presence in his archdiocese, and requested that we train his people to effectively resist and defeat anti-life activities in Lesotho. We immediately agreed, and provided him with the tools he needs to promote the pro-life message even more effectively.
Archbishop Lerotholi attended all of the sessions of the subsequent training I conducted the following February, and he noted how language has been manipulated to achieve a cultural revolution which is hostile to human life, faith and Christian values. He also reflected on the misery and cultural confusion currently facing the Sotho people, directly caused by Western anti-life and anti-family programs and propaganda. He lamented that the West has adversely affected the beautiful African traditional cultural values that treasure life and family. He said that HLI had come at the right moment, and will help the people of Lesotho to re-think their attitudes and views on human life and the family.
The Archbishop personally sent invitations to the religious congregations in his country, and his presence and active participation throughout the training signified that the church in Lesotho has eagerly embraced HLI’s presence and message in the country. At the conclusion of the training, the newest HLI affiliate, Pro-Life Lesotho, was launched.
Even more encouraging, Archbishop Lerotholi appointed moral theology professor Father Tanki Mmotsi to teach pro-life topics at St. Augustine’s Major Seminary. Father Mmotsi will thus directly instruct these future pastors in pro-life thinking and living in order to arm and prepare them to confront the Culture of Death.
Archbishop Lerotholi was also the primary author of the recent “Lesotho Bishops’ Statement on Abortion,” which addressed pro-life issues relevant to Lesotho. The Bishops strongly condemned abortion, saying that “Our country may find itself tempted to follow the example of other countries, more influential and stronger than itself, that have enacted laws that give women the right to have abortion on demand, as if it can ever be anybody’s right to terminate the life of the unborn.”
Human Life International conducted the First Anglophone Africa Regional Training Conference at the Comboni Missionaries Conference Center near Dar es Salaam on August 20-26. Archbishop Lerotholi attended the first four full days of this conference. On August 20, I presented the Cardinal von Galen Award to the Archbishop in the presence of Monsignor Julian Kangalawe and the thirty attendees, after the singing of the Tanzanian national anthem.
Archbishop Lerotholi then spoke on the essential nature of the pro-life mission to the future of Lesotho, and emphasized the importance of Human Life International to this mission.
HLI will continue to assist this courageous prelate in fighting the Culture of Death in any way it can. We will work as hard as we can to ensure a bright future for the people and the children of Lesotho.