President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has appealed for the strengthening of the relationship between the Church and the State, which, he said, will help in the construction of the progressive, prosperous Ghana.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “Our nation relies on you (the Church) to form your congregants on nation-building for them to see 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, 4th January 2023, the President reiterated his strong belief in the “positive relationship between Church and State”.
“In the course of my presidency, I have relied on your support in seeking your intercession to address the myriad of challenges that we have gone through together as a nation, prominent among which was the management of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “You would recall that, on March 19th, 2022, I hosted a breakfast meeting for all religious leaders at the presidency, during which I 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.’ God heard us.”
The President thus continued to ask the Church to pray the country “so that we can surmount the current socioeconomic challenges we face together”.
As President of the Republic, he reiterated his determination to see a prosperous Ghana where justice and peace embrace, where the common good is safeguarded and promoted, where the bonds of fraternity, as called for by His Holiness Pope Francis in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti.
As a fully committed democrat, he re-assured the gathering of his commitment to ensure that Ghana continues to travel down the path of democratic engagement on which the country has been embarked for the last thirty years of the 4th Republic.
“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.
President Akufo-Addo also urged the Church to to continue to preach and teach about the need for solidarity, a key tenet of Catholic social teachings, which emphasizes the “firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual because we are all really responsible for all.”
“We need it as a nation in these times. From the pulpit, do encourage hard work, understanding work as a vocation, and patriotism as a virtue that Ghanaians must continue to embrace this new year and beyond so that Ghana will remain a shining star of Africa and a key player on the world stage,” he said.
The changing milieu in which the world finds itself, indeed, President Akufo-Addo said, depicts that as every institution matures over the course of time, it must definitely take stock of the structures that guide its operations.
“Welfare issues must, thus, be looked at in a way that enables the priest to pour out his life as a libation for service in God’s kingdom, knowing that now and in the future, when old age smiles at him or if he is incapacitated to fulfil his duties due to debilitating 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.
Inspired by the direction of Pope Francis, the 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.’”