President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for the strengthening of relationship between the Church and the State to construct a progressive and prosperous Ghana.
The President said the state relies on the congregants of the Church to appreciate the “importance of the social implication of the Gospel as it relates to national cohesion and development and the relationship between spirituality and work ethics.”
Speaking at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo reiterated his strong belief in the “positive relationship between Church and State”.
The President in the course of his presidency relied on the Church’s support in seeking God’s intervention to address the myriad of challenges that confronts the nation, prominent among which was the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 19th, 2020, in the heat of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo hosted a breakfast meeting for all religious leaders at the presidency, and entreated the need “for us to join together and pray to the Almighty God to protect our nation, heal this land and save us from this pandemic.”
He asked the Church then to pray for the country “so that we can surmount the current socioeconomic challenges we face together.”
President Akufo-Addo reinstated his determination to see a prosperous Ghana where justice and peace and the common good is safeguarded and promoted, as well as an entrenched bond of fraternity, as called for by His Holiness Pope Francis in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti.
As a committed democrat, the President re-assured his commitment to ensuring that Ghana continues to travel down the path of democratic engagement which the country embarked on for the last 30 years.
“It is important that all of us, priests and laymen, continue to uphold the democratic values whose application has produced this healthy result and which provide us with the most effective means of resolving our contemporary difficulties and, thereby, preserving the freedom, progress, stability and unity of our nation,” he added.
He urged the Church to continue preaching and teaching about the need for solidarity—a Catholic social teachings—that emphasises the “firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good…”
“We need it as a nation in these times” President Akufo-Addo stated and urged the Church to encourage hard work and patriotism as a virtue that Ghanaians must continue to embrace this new year to propel the progress of the nation.
Welfare issues in the Church, he said, must be looked to enable the “priest pour out his life as a libation for service in God’s kingdom, knowing that now and in the future, when old age catches up with him or incapacitated due to sickness, he would enjoy a modicum of comfort.
That would definitely encourage the priest to give his all to his ministry and for the good of our beloved country,” he added.
President urged the Priests, to “listen to one another with your heart, keeping in mind that ‘encounter and listening are not ends in themselves, leaving everything just as it was before. On the contrary, whenever we enter into dialogue, we allow ourselves to be challenged, to advance on a journey.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD