Situated on the picturesque foothills of the Udzungwa Mountains is Nchombe is a small town in the Ifakara Diocese of Tanzania. On visiting Nchombe it is difficult to miss a striking contrast. Despite the abundant fertile and arable land, the local people in this area still live a life of abject poverty.
At the invitation of the parish priest, Father Novatus Mrema, OFM, I arrived at the Nchombe Parish to present pro-life training to about 215 happy children and adults, some of whom traveled a long distance. Fr. Novatus Mrema has worked hard to bring his flock deeper into the Faith, and it wasn’t easy. For many years the Christian faith has struggled with integrated practices of witchcraft and sorcery. Since these are clearly incompatible with an authentic Christian Faith, they had to be condemned in the clearest terms, while good traditions that are compatible with the truth are welcomed.
Our mission focused on the sacredness and dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and on the importance of the family, especially the African traditional family which is now under serious attack by Western anti-life ideologies.
Most tribes still strongly respect and welcome new life into the world. In some tribes, a pregnant woman was likened to a deity because she carries a new human life whose origin is from God himself. Thus society had respect for both mothers and new human life — just as the Church teaches. Virginity is highly valued before marriage, as it should be, though we also had to educate in the goodness of all human life regardless of when he or she is conceived. A just condemnation of the sin of sex before marriage should not result in the condemnation of a child born in this situation, or of the mother, after all. It is with a strong appeal that the sacrament of marriage must espouse a life-long covenant between spouses as God has planned for happy, healthy societies.
In most African cultures, the concept of the extended family is also highly respected and practiced. So a child born to a family is celebrated by all, and the child’s upbringing does not solely rest on the hands of biological parents. Instead, all those surrounding the child including relatives and neighbors play roles in the child’s development.
Given currents trends in anti-life mentalities, I was not surprised when Fr. Novatus implied that abortion was gradually being accepted in his parish. Speaking on the threats to human life and marriage and family, I shared videos that illustrate the evils surrounding abortion and the sad consequences. Some girls could not hide their grief. Many broke into tears, crying loudly.
Abortion hurts women physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Clearly, abortion angers God. Likewise, those who participate in these evil practices, along with contraception and sterilization, anger God too. Many were unaware of the hidden global population control agenda to massively distribute contraceptives in Tanzania.
Our meetings were emotional, but ultimately very positive, and I was grateful to share the truth in love about the dignity of human life. Afterwards, I received a note of appreciation from Father Novatus in the native language of Kiswahili.
“Mr. Emil Hagamu, I sincerely appreciate your acceptance of my humble invitation to come and give a pro-life seminar to my parishioners. I have observed with dismay the way abortions are being performed in this area. Your talk, which has reinforced Church teaching on life and family will open up and change their hearts to embrace the message of the Gospel of Life. May God continue to bless and protect you always.”