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(LifeSiteNews) — Last month I visited four countries in Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. In Kenya I got a chance to sit down with Archbishop Philip Anyolo of Nairobi and two of his priests, discussing LGBT issues from the point of view of the African Church.

While in Tanzania I managed to sit down with Archbishop Isaac Amani of the Archdiocese of Arusha, discussing the reasons he thinks the Catholic faith managed to survive in Africa while it has seemingly dissipated everywhere else. This is The John-Henry Westen Show.

From Abp. Amani’s perspective, faith exists in the hearts of the people. To preserve faith cannot be from books or buildings. For Amani, faith is found when passed on from one generation to the next in the context of the family – something integral to African culture. “Faith is something which is inside, but then when we express it, we live real lives, because we have faith, even with God,” he tells me. “When you have faith in God, then you care what He’s telling you or what He expects of you.”

It is the faith of the Church that binds people together. When the priest or catechist tells us something, we listen to them. Respect for authority, therefore, is integral to true faith, lest we begin to “invent” our own ways of living and making ourselves the starting point of religion. This was true in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, when God gave our first parents instructions telling them how to live well. That they did not was the cause of Christ’s coming.

“We have to really realize that, well, we are creatures,” Amani says. “There is a Creator who has put order in His order, in our lives.” 

READ: Africa’s leading cardinal wants continental response to Vatican’s same-sex blessings text

Regarding the preservation of faith in Africa, Amani credits the belief in an afterlife with the preservation of Catholicism in the continent. Africans, he tells me, realize that they were not meant for this world, and while there is a duty to beautify the world and make it pleasant to live in, our time in it is finite, and we must prepare ourselves to enter heaven. It is by living according to God’s principles and values that we prepare ourselves for entry into heaven, he explains. 

He also credits the Small Christian Communities, established a half-century ago by the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMACEA), comprising 10 to 15 families under the auspices of the bishops, who meet once per week to pray and another time during the week to discuss other matters.

Discussing the family in the context of marriage preparation, Amani stresses the role of the father. Looking at the creation of Adam, he says that it was not an accident that God made Adam before Eve, and Eve after Adam named all the animals. To him, this shows that the role of the man is to take care of his wife and children, a role he sees as unique and exemplified by St. Joseph in the Holy Family, looking to the flight in to Egypt as an example. 

“The vocation of man is to take care, to direct, to monitor, and to guide,” he states. “The role of Joseph puts before us the role of man to take care of the family, to take pride in working hard to support the family,” he continues. “So abandoning the family is a serious crime for any man.”

He also says that wives should understand that they ought not to compete with their husbands, but that the two must work together to raise a child, looking to Our Lady as an example. “This kind of arrangement was first put in place by God Himself, and we human beings have to learn from God how to plan our lives up according to the wishes and directives of God,” Amani tells me about the family structure.

We also discuss the outside pressure on Africa to change their pro-life and pro-family stance on various issues. To him, Africa is a very rich continent that has been made to believe that it has nothing. What the continent has, he tells me, are the values of life, hospitality, and appreciating each other, and that these “by themselves are very strong.”

To those attempting to persuade Africa to give up its pro-life and pro-family beliefs, Amani says the continent should say “no” to anything that is contrary to the will of God and “destroy” what is beautiful in Africa, as what is offered will be something for their benefit rather than for that of the continent. He also says Africa could contribute to any global conversation with what it values. 

“We should tell the Western world, whoever is helping us, ‘Thank you for your support and aids and promises, but please listen to us, too. We have something to contribute. We may be poor in some things, but we are not poor in everything,’” Amani says. 

“So, the wealth of Africa should also, if it’s welcome, can also save the rest of the world, for whoever is ready to listen and learn what is good in Africa may also benefit the rest of the world.”

Finally, we discuss the Synod on Synodality and what he made of various cardinals and bishops suggesting changes to the Catholic faith.

Amani responds by affirming that Christ is our foundation, and that the new ideas circulating in the Church are not from God, as they oppose the foundation of the Church. In his opinion, African leaders should have the courage to say “no” in the face of the call to abandon the foundation of the Catholic faith.

“The apostles have given us what they experienced from Christ Himself,” he says.

“We are carrying on those values because we believe these are the tenets that really put us together,” he continues. “We call ourselves Catholics because we’ve been Catholic from the very beginning… What values do we give to our coming generation to sustain the reality of the Catholic identity?” 

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.