Accra, April 1, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Friday congratulated Right Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Catholic Bishop of Koforidua Diocese, on his appointment as the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Accra Archdiocese.
A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr Kwabena Agyei Agyepong, Press Secretary to the President and Presidential Spokesman, said the President also congratulated Right Reverend Dominic Andoh on his retirement from active service.
To Rt-Rev. Palmer-Buckle the President wrote: "It gives me great pleasure to convey on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, warm congratulations on your richly-deserved appointment as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, following the retirement of Archbishop Dominic Andoh.
"As one who enjoys tremendous respect and affection among Ghanaians of diverse faith, you will no doubt use your accession to this high office to help accelerate the healing of the nation's wounds and foster a sense of love and unity among our people."
It said: "The Government counts on your wise counsel and spiritual guidance and looks forward to working closely with you in building a united nation that is at peace with itself."
The message to His Grace Rt-Rev. Andoh said: "I have learned that you have relinquished your position as Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, having reached the Canonical age limit of 75.
"I have the honour to convey to you, on behalf of the Government and people of Ghana, warm congratulations for a long and distinguished career which touched the lives of millions of Ghanaians of diverse faith."
It said: "The nation owes you a debt of gratitude for courageously speaking out against oppression and steadfastly promoting democracy during very difficult times.
"I fervently hope that even in your retirement we shall continue to benefit from your wise counsel and spiritual guidance. Accept in the meantime, my best wishes for your personal well-being and the assurances of my highest consideration."
The Catholic Church on Wednesday March 30, appointed Bishop Palmer-Buckle as the new Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra. Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop George Kocherry who made the announcement at a press conference in Accra. The news was simultaneously announced in Rome.
Bishop Palmer-Buckle, who was in-charge of the Koforidua Diocese, succeeded Archbishop Dominic Andoh, who had reached the canonical age of 75.
Bishop Palmer-Buckle would, however, assume oversight responsibility of the Koforidua Diocese until a new Bishop is appointed. The selection of Bishop Palmer-Buckle met opposition from a section of the Church in the GaDangbe District, who claimed they did not approve of the nomination because he was not a native of Ga.
Reacting to the assertion, the Apostolic Nuncio described the opposition as "unfortunate" and said the Catholic Church did not promote tribalism or thrived on ethnic sentiments.
"The interest of the Church is to promote religious and spiritual values and ensure the transformation of lives."
He said: "The whole idea is confusing since (his) father is a Ga and he eloquently speaks all the major Ghanaian languages."