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27.11.2008 Feature Article

Is it right for a Catholic Priest or Pastor to engage in politics?

Politics comes from the Greek word politicos or politics, which means “a citizen”. It should therefore be understood that politics has to do with citizenship; so in a sense any citizen of a nation is a political being or a politician.

From the above definition, asking a person to stay off politics amounts to asking him or her to cease to be a citizen of a particular country and this is nothing else but contradictory and deprivation of one's citizenship.

If a citizen exercises a say in the way and manner the affairs of his or her country are run, that person is doing nothing else but politics, engaging in politics and being part of politics; therefore, every voter is a politician, one who engages in politics or expresses himself or herself as a citizen.

We are therefore to understand that doing politics, engaging in politics or being part of politics is nothing else but exercising one's civic right or role as a citizen of a nation and this is an excellent activity or work.

From the above explanation, it can be said confidently and without any fear of contradiction that politics is neither evil nor dirty. It is only when politics is given partisan twist that it breeds all kinds of dangerous and destructive human activities or evil.

If a Catholic Priest or a Pastor is also a citizen and that if politics can also be described as the management of human and natural resources of a country, or the management of human affairs of a country, then it can be said without any fear of contradiction that the Catholic Priest, who has been ordained by God as the light of the world, despite his weak human nature, has a very important and serious role to play in politics.

Just as there is diversity of gifts, ministries and works (1 Corinthians 12:4-5), there is also diversity of roles in politics and therefore, the Priest or Pastor needs to know or identify the roles that he can play best in politics.

I believe and think that the most important role a Priest or Pastor needs to occupy himself with now in politics, is enlightening and evangelizing politics, in other words, bringing God into politics so that the world can allow God to be all in all in the heart of all people and on this earth; a God whose will needs to be obeyed and put into practice by human beings, so that human beings may live in love, unity, peace, happiness and prosperity.

Let us believe and be mindful of the fact that the Catholic Priest or Pastor is not ordained only for the winning of souls to God, no! the Catholic Priest or Pastor is also ordained to bring liberty to the victims of injustice (Luke 4:18), to be the voice of the voiceless and defender of the defenseless; not only these activities, but also the Catholic priest is ordained by God to protect the poor from being denied of their inalienable right to peace, happiness and prosperity and the basic necessities of life. The Catholic Priest is also ordained to protect the poor from being trampled upon by the powers that be. He is ordained and given the spirit of power and not timidity (2 Tim 1:7) to point out injustice in society (Amos 5:7-13).

All the above stated roles of the ordained Catholic Priest are his civic rights or roles that he has to exercise in society, in season and out of season (2 Tim 4:2) for the glory of God and for the salvation of God's children. The above stated roles of the ordained Priest or pastor are very important and serious political roles in different forms. The said roles of the Catholic Priest in society should help Ghanaians to believe and accept the fact that God cannot be separated from politics which is our way of life. Consequently religion cannot be separated from politics and therefore, the church and state are interwoven and we shall collapse if we try to separate the two. We should all the time be talking about collaboration of church and state and not separation of church and state.

A Catholic Priest cannot hold a political appointment because of is partisan nature. According to the Oxford Advance Learner's Dictionary, the adjective “partisan” means “bias”, and to be bias in politics is evil. Consequently, to engage in partisan politics or being part of partisan politics amounts to paving the way for all kinds of uncontrollable troubles and terrible evil. Therefore, we should not be surprised to see or hear of very destructive dogfight that goes on even in the American partisan politics. In view of the destructive activities that partisan politics breed's African nations' should abolish partisan politics and agitate for union government, a government that brings the people of a state together like how a football team that represents a particular country, brings the people of the said country together during an international football competition.

Because some human beings have a terrible weakness of accepting the truth, which is the only thing that can bring us peace, unity, happiness and prosperity, the Catholic Priest, in exercising the stated special role in society, will be mistreated, especially, by the powers that be, but he need not be afraid because the one who ordained him, the one whose role or ministry he shares, suffered the same fate just for the sake of the truth. But then, God has a wonderful promise for him:

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you have decided to follow my footsteps and share in my ministry. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. This is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.”

Credit: Adoagyiri – Nsawam

MyjoyOnline
MyjoyOnline, © 2008

This author has authored 338 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: myjoyonline

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