But the African says: human life is not for sale, and African values are not on sale either.
During the Synod, Cardinal Kasper of Germany stated that the Africans "should not tell us too much what we have to do.” How was the cardinal’s statement received in Africa?
I think that Cardinal Kasper’s comment is exactly what it sounded like: it sounds arrogant. Cardinal Kasper can speak for his country. And Africans too should be able to speak for their countries. I do remember that the President of the Nigerian Bishops’ Conference spoke powerfully on the issues of families. Synods are meant to bring all these different beliefs and opinions to the table.
Your Excellency, in light of all you’ve said, it seems you would argue that Africa has something to say to Western cultures, and that Africa does have something to say to Germany?
Yes, but of course Western cultures also have the right to listen, or not. That’s a right. But we’ve also got a right to say what we’ve got to say.
I do believe that there are quite a number of things in Germany that Africans could learn from. But on the issues of life and family, I do believe that Africa must be given the right to determine what it wants to keep and what it wants to throw away.
Do you think the African bishops will forcefully oppose any attempt to change the Church’s doctrine or practice in terms of divorce and remarriage or homosexuality?
I am an African bishop, and I can tell you that if I go to the Synod I will stand by what the Church has always taught. Homosexuality is a disorder. Homosexuals are God’s children. They have a right to be respected. They have a right to compassion. They have a right to be accepted as human beings. But there is a distinguishing factor between human rights and human behavior. I don’t have to accept homosexual behavior, just like I don’t have to accept drug addition, robbery, and terrorism. But I accept human beings, and I think that is the bottom line.
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.