, 17 November, 2019 / 8:39 PM
While the controversy-ridden International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) was concluding in Kenya’s capital Nairobi with 11 States issuing a joint statement faulting the organizers of manipulating the process leading to and content of the Nairobi Summit to suit pro-choice agenda, Catholic Bishops in the West African country of Ghana were deliberating, among other matters, one of the controversial and divisive issues in the Nairobi meeting: “Comprehensive Sexuality Education and LGBTQ.”
A joint statement by 11 countries, four of them African, expressed displeasure in the use of the term sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) because it “has been used to aggressively promote practices, like abortion.”
The 11 States decried changes made to the initial ICPD held in Cairo 25 years ago stating that unlike Cairo’s ICPD Program of Action, which envisaged that adolescents are given “information, education and counselling to help them delay early family formation, premature sexual activity and first pregnancy,” ICPD25 seemed to promote SRHR, a term “used to promote a brand of sex education that fails to appreciate the protective role of the family and often condones unhealthy sexual risks for young people” characteristic of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
In Ghana, Catholic Bishops meeting for their Annual Plenary Assembly expressed appreciation for the decisive stance of the President of their country, specifically for “assuring all Ghanaians that Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) will not see the light of day under his Government.”
“The general uproar that greeted this controversial CSE curriculum is broadly indicative of what should be expected, when an externally imposed policy is accepted without adequate engagement of citizens who would be affected by it,” the Bishops stated in a communiqué dated November 15 issued at the end of their weeklong meeting in Cape Coast.
“We would like to implore the President to take further concrete steps to prevent future reintroduction of the CSE in any form or guise into our curriculum,” the Prelates stated in their communiqué signed by the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh and read out by Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi of Ghana’s Sunyani diocese.
“We are aware of the subtle agenda of lobbyists and some NGOs to promote a lifestyle that is against universal nature values and, certainly, against Ghanaian cultural and moral values,” stated Bishop Kwasi on behalf of the Bishops in Ghana at the closing of the Plenary Assembly Mass at the St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Cape Coast.
“We already have an acceptable sex education in our educational system,” continues to read the Bishops’ communiqué availed to ACI Africa Saturday, November 16.
The Bishops have declared, “As a nation, therefore, we must make our position unequivocally clear and put in place measures that will stop those who propagate this evil agenda.”
“While we recognize that there are people with these abnormal sexual orientations and request that they be treated and helped, we oppose very strongly any CSE that teaches the acceptance of LGBTQ and same sex marriages as normal,” the Bishops in Ghana have stated referencing allies of sexual orientations that include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer.
Meanwhile, with recent concerns expressed by GCBC President, Archbishop Philip Naameh that the country’s December 17 referendum was not receiving adequate attention and publicity, the Bishops in Ghana have called on eligible voters who registered to ensure they take part in both district level elections and the referendum, describing the double events as “two very important civic responsibilities.”
“In this referendum, all citizens will answer a simple question on whether or not we favour the amendment of our national constitution to allow political parties to campaign and present candidates for Metropolitan, Municipal and District elections and other Local Government Units,” the Bishops explained in their November 15 communiqué.
“We have an important civic and Christian responsibility to make our voices heard on this matter,” the Bishops stated and re-emphasized, “Let us put Ghana first and vote massively in the referendum on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.”
In their weeklong deliberations, the Bishops in Ghana also expressed concerns about “a steep rise in unemployment” especially among the youth and described the phenomenon as “a veritable national security threat which has to be addressed immediately and urgently with a well-articulated programme.”
The Catholic Prelates also regretted that corruption “is rife and has eaten into the very fabric of our society.” In their considered view, the vice seems “to be institutionalized and has become acceptable as part of our culture. We should not accept this negative culture.”
On a positive note, the Bishops commended the government for rolling out the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme even though they noted “some significant challenges that need to be looked into” and called “for a broad national dialogue of relevant stakeholders to review all aspects of the free SHS.”
The Annual Plenary Assembly, which concluded Friday, November 15 took place in the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, at the Hospitaller Retreat Centre in Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana under the theme, “Baptized and Sent: Living our mission in Ghana today.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa