Ghanaian Bishop Blames Dwindling Catholic Population to Lack of Zeal among Priests

Bishop John Kobina Louis. Credit: Accra Archdiocese

Lack of zeal among priests in Ghana is partly to blame for the country’s dwindling Catholic population, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra in Ghana has said.

In his keynote address during the theology week celebration of the St. Peter’s Seminary in Cape Coast on Monday, March 11, Bishop John Kobina Louis, found it unfortunate that many Priests in the West African nation are doing very little to grow the stations they are assigned.

“Many priests hardly attain the establishment of 40 outstations in 40 Years of priesthood as no wonder and sadly the Catholic population in Ghana is dwindling.  The number of priests has doubled in the past 40 years while the Catholic population is dwindling,” he said.

In his address, Bishop Louis said mission should be at the center of formation of future priests, noting that priestly ministry cannot exist without mission.

“We need to be thinking about mission. Mission, therefore, cannot continue to be a mere flavor or a mere aroma in the formation of future Priests,” Bishop Louis said in his address at the event that was organized under the theme, “A synodal approach to priestly formation: Developing new and creative pathways for ministry in Ghana.” 


He added, “The purpose and dimensions of Priestly formation should be more Mission-oriented in such a way that future priests become true disciples of Christ with a great passion for winning souls for Christ.”

The Bishop said that human, pastoral, and intellectual formation should be prioritized right from the seminary to awaken the fire of missionary zeal.

He said that human formation should focus more keenly on identifying the communion deficiency areas of the lives of individual seminarians, such as their character.

One of the personalities to address among seminarians during formation is introversion, he said, and added, “Pastoral and intellectual formation should pay closer attention to making future priests ardent agents of promoting fellowship among the faithful of Christ.”

“We should be trained so that when we are out, we are on fire to make people feel they belong to the Church,” he said.

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The Bishop who was appointed alongside Bishop  Anthony Narh Asare in February last year to assist Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie in shepherding the archdiocese also underscored the need to also form the laity for evangelization.

“Pastoral formation in particular should be redesigned in such a way that there is emphasis on forming future priests to become trainers of the lay faithful in practical skills for primary evangelizing,” he said.

Underlining the need for “mission” which he described as “the very flavor of the substance of priestly formation,” the Ghanaian Bishop urged the traditional key agents of priestly formation including Bishops, rectors, and formators, to come out of their comfort zone and instill Christ-oriented mission in the seminarians.

Bishop Louis said that seminarians should be aided to appreciate the divine origin of their vocation better to “nurture a closer relationship with the communion of divine presence as disciples of Jesus.”

The auxiliary Bishop of Ghana’s Accra Archdiocese said that when seminarians appreciate the divine origin of priesthood from their formation, “they will not take the priesthood as a career but truly as a call from God.”


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.