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16.02.2009 Social News

Catholic Synod opens


Vice-President John Dramani Mahama has re-affirmed government's determination to partner with religious bodies in ensuring that state appointees were not consumed with their own needs, but work towards reducing the difficulties of the ordinary people.

He said the mainstay of the NDC administration would be to seek the welfare of ordinary citizens, adding that, in doing so, the government would rely on sound Christian and other ethical principles in bringing about a society that was fair and just.

Addressing the Second Synod of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra at the Saint Paul's Seminary at Sowutoum in Accra on Monday, Vice-President Mahama reiterated the commitment of the government to place ordinary Ghanaians at the heart of its policies to bring about transformation in their lives.

Drawing on the universal Christian ethic of one loving his neighbour as himself, Vice-President stressed the need for state functionaries not to focus narrowly on their own interests, but to rather work on securing the greater interest of the society to the benefit of all.

The Vice-President emphasised the yearning of the government to let Christian values be he centrepiece of social development agenda, and as an indicator of the moral fibre that state operatives could draw their inspiration.

Vice-President Mahama justified this as necessary in ensuring that government "leads in the right direction" and avoided the pitfall of arrogance and self-centredness, which was perceived to be the source of bad governance in most African countries.

He said the desire of the government to work with the religious bodies in transforming Ghana to a welfare-oriented society was due to the yeoman's role some religious institutions played in securing the security and stability of the state.

He said the 2008 General elections, for instance, demonstrated the non-partisan role some church groupings played in the transfer of power from one political entity to another without threats to the cohesion of the state for which they should be lauded.

Referring specifically to the Catholic Church, he said, it had demonstrated sufficient expertise in carrying out social interventions meant to benefit the marginalized, citing the institution of a health insurance scheme by the Church, years before the state even made an attempt at it.

The five-day Synod, which is focusing on five thematic areas, is a platform for the generation of ideas, which could serve as the basis of the future direction of the Church.

The areas of discussion include how the church can address urgent national concerns such as youth development, peace and reconciliation, as well as ecumenical issues such as marriage, family life and liturgy.

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, the Most Reverend Gabriel Palmer Buckle, said the forum would help develop a short to medium term policies on

how the Archdiocese could responded to social, moral and cultural issues in the capital city of Accra.

The move, he explained, was to fire-up the enthusiasm of congregants to hold on to their own in a permissive world where people were fast losing their sense of responsibility to one another.

The Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana, Most Reverend Leon Kalenga, said Africa was in dire need of “servant-leaders” and commended Ghanaians for being a rare example in that regard.

In an address read on his behalf, the Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi, the Most Reverend Kwaku Mensah, expressed concern about the acceptance of delinquent sexual acts in the Ghanaian society, a situation, which he said, Christendom should firmly tackle.

Other speakers, including Reverend Dr. Fred Deegbe, Secretary-General of the Christian Council of Ghana, Apostle Ekow Wood, General-Secretary, Ghana Pentecostal Churches, and the Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Coast, the Most Reverend Matthias Nketia, dwelled on the need for churches to be at the forefront of moral regeneration.