President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for the strengthening of the existing collaboration between the state and the church to accelerate the development and progress of the country.
He said the country, over the years, had relied on the church in informing the congregants on nation-building and also embrace the importance of the social implication of the Gospel as it relates to national cohesion 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 yesterday, 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.
He recalled when in March 2022, he hosted a breakfast meeting for all religious leaders at the presidency and called for all to join together and pray to the Almighty God to protect the nation, heal the land and save the country from this pandemic, which God heard and answered.
President Akufo-Addo urged the Church to continue with the prayers for the country to surmount the current socioeconomic challenges.
He reiterated his determination to see to a prosperous Ghana where justice and peace were embraced, where the common good was safeguarded and promoted.
“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 continue to preach about the need for solidarity, a key tenet of Catholic social teachings.
“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 in 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.
President Akufo-Addo said the changing milieu the world finds itself depicts that every institution matures over the course of time and 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.’”