The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), through its president, Most Rev. Philip Naameh, on last Monday November 8, 2021, made this statement, “The expressed commitment of the President of the Republic to protect the public purse, a promise that the citizens welcomed, seems to be an illusion now. Are those managing the public purse not concerned about the waste and misapplication of resources that belong to all Ghanaians? Can this be referred to as irresponsible use of power or the lack of compassion and empathy?”
This may sound too harsh and depressing for a government who is doing everything it can to get everything right for the people.In response to the bishops, the ruling party’s National Communication Director, Hon Yaw Buaben Asamoa came out to say that the “bishops’ statement lack clarity and focus……where are the specifics on that? Some level of clarity at that level is important.”
One may suggest that Yaw Buaben Asamoa is not well vested in the way the Holy Catholic Church operates, because when you talk about this Church you talk about the most well-informed church on earth. With the clergy under going at least nine years of training, Catholic priests stands out very knowledgeable at things around him.
In every church/parish there are groups, societies and ministries. At meetings things discussed include social matters and things that affect the welfare of the members. These groups, societies and ministries are represented on the Parish (or Church) Pastoral Council, headed by the parish priest. During council meetings, at AOMs, things discussed include living conditions in the country.
Then there is the (Arch) Diocesan Council which is headed by the (arch) bishop with parish priests included as members. Apart from spiritual and religious issues, social and national issues are among things discuss. This is one of the areas that the bishop gets to know what is going on in society. Aside from this, the Catholic bishop has his household made up generally of his driver, gardener, cook and others who are ordinary citizens who also face the challenges every other ordinary Ghanaian faces. They tell their problems to the bishop and the bishop gets to know. The Catholic bishop is therefore not immune to the difficulties facing every ordinary Ghanaian, so when he speaks about challenges of life in this country, he knows what he is talking about and sadly this is what Hon Yaw Buabeng Asamoa is not aware of.
The bishop, who is the shepherd of the flock in the diocese, freely interacts with Catholics, other Christians and non-Christians and hear their story. Aside from that people go to him crying for assistance to be able to foot medical, educational, trading, travelling and other bills to make life better for them.The bishop is drawn into the picture and he feels the hardship the ordinary person feels. He speaks to people of higher rankings to suggest solutions to the problems facing the people.
With this knowledge, the bishop meets with and discusses issues with brother bishops on phone, when they meet one on one or at conference meetings, where each one tables his story and come out with suggestions and advice to government and to all those giving the power to be in authority.
So, whenever a Catholic bishop or even a Catholic priest speaks, he knows what he is talking about. Because the Catholic bishop/priest hears what he needs to hear, whereas the political office holder hears what he or she wants to hear.
In my opinion, the best way to respond to the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference’s statement, if I were Yaw Buabeng Asamoa, was just to say, “Well noted, bishops”and leave things as they are. What the bishops are saying are what the ordinary Ghanaians are in fact feeling.
Talk about corruption and the recent confirmation of MMDCEs shows that corruption is more endemic at the base than at the top. Assembly members who should be living examples to the grass roots on how all should lead our lives, are rather demanding huge sums, in some cases over GH¢10,000.00 each, aside from other benefits, before they confirm the nominees. This form of corruption cannot be accepted, for must a nominee who is to face twenty assembly members dole out GH¢200,000.00 before he gets the nod to take up office to serve the people? Must anyone pay the very people is to serve before he is allowed to serve them? These and all other forms of corruption are what the ordinary Ghanaian is talking about and this is what the GCBC is talking about.
Government must join hands with the Catholic Church to find solutions to our numerous problems. The Catholic Church, and here I quote Pope Francis, is not a political organisation. It exists to bring the Word of Jesus to the world and to make possible today an encounter with the Living Jesus.
Unlike some churches whose leaders love to boot-lick political office holders, the Catholic Church, like Jesus, will say what needs to be said and will say it as it is without fear of losing face. Jesus asked His apostles in St. John 6: 68, “Will you also go away?” He spoke the Truth that many rejected and Jesus did not mind losing His apostles if they will not submit to the Truth.
The Catholic Church has spoken and only those who are focussed will understand the truth and wisdom in what she said.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.