Let’s strengthen the relationship between the Church and State – Akufo-Addo

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President Akufo-Addo has called for a stronger relationship between the Church and the State, which he says will aid in the development of a progressive, prosperous Ghana.

“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,” President Akufo-Addo said.

On Wednesday, January 4, 2023, the President spoke at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests Association, reiterating 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.”

As a result, the President continued to ask the Church to pray for the country “so that we can surmount the current socioeconomic challenges we face together”.

As President of the Republic, he reaffirmed his determination to see a prosperous Ghana where justice and peace embrace, the common good is safeguarded and promoted, and the bonds of fraternity are strengthened, as His Holiness Pope Francis called for in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

As a fully committed democrat, he assured the gathering of his determination to see that Ghana stays on the path of democratic engagement that it has been on for the last thirty years of the Fourth 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 continue preaching and teaching about the need for solidarity, a key tenet of Catholic social teachings that 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.

President Akufo-Addo stated that the changing environment in which the world finds itself shows that as each institution matures over time, it must 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 stated.

Inspired by Pope Francis‘ directive, 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.”

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