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John Magufuli, President of Tanzaniaflickr / GCIS / GovernmentZA

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March 25, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Amid the dire messaging and drastic steps of world leaders to separate citizens to stem the spread of the coronavirus – including the shutting down of Catholic Masses throughout the western world – the president of Tanzania told the people of his nation, “We [don’t] close down churches.”  

President John Magufuli, leader of a country of 57 million people located on the east coast of Africa, is a Catholic. He spoke at St. Paul's Cathedral in the nation’s capital. 

“I insist upon you my fellow Christians and even [Muslims], do not be afraid, do not stop gathering yourself to glorify God and praise Him,” said Magufuli. “That is why as a government we didn’t close down churches or mosques.” 

“Instead, they should be always open for the people to seek refuge to God,” Magufuli insisted. “Churches are places where people could seek the true healing, because there the True God resides. Do not…be afraid of praising and seeking God’s face in the Church.”

“The Coronavirus cannot survive in the Eucharistic body of Christ; it will soon be burnt away,” he declared.   

“That is exactly why I did not panic while taking the Holy Communion, because I knew, with Jesus in the Eucharist I am safe,” said President Magufuli. “This is the time of building our faith in God.”

President Magufuli delivered his remarks on March 22, Laetare Sunday.  

In a previous display of his Catholic faith, in 2018 Magufuli encouraged Tanzanians to disregard the pressure coming from pro-contraception foreigners – including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – and continue reproducing. He promised that the government would improve healthcare, specifically maternal health with the building of 67 new hospitals.

The Tanzanian president questioned the merits of so-called family planning and expressed concern over low birth rates experienced by many countries. 

“I have traveled to Europe and elsewhere and have seen the harmful effects of birth control. Some countries are now facing declining population growth. They are short on manpower,” said Magufuli.