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Catholic Bishops in Ghana "alarmed by growing culture of disrespect, insults," Urge Peace

Logo of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC). Credit: GCBC

Members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) have, in their Christmas message, expressed their concerns about what they have described as an “unfortunate growing culture of disrespect and insults” in the West African nation.

In their Friday, December 17 statement, GCBC members also highlight misleading prophecies and utterances, accidents, ethnic conflicts as some of the “events which run contrary to the peace that Christ brings to all humanity and to our nation.”

The Catholic Bishops say they are “alarmed by the unfortunate growing culture of disrespect and insults in Ghana, especially in our nation's political arena and so wish to call on all our politicians and indeed, all citizens, to endeavor to put an end to this rising phenomenon.”

“We are also gravely disturbed about the resurgence of the age-old Bawku conflict, which resurfaces at every least instance of disagreement,” GCBC members say, and call on all who incite all forms of ethnic violence “to stop their machinations and desist from such actions in the future.” 

They emphasize the link between peace and the fostering of human dignity saying, “There can be no peace anywhere in the world if the dignity of the human person is disrespected and/or violated.”

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The Catholic Bishops in Ghana also express their disappointment following the recent chaos that erupted in parliament during the presentation of the Government Budget and Financial Statement for 2022.

In the coming year, GCBC members implore lawmakers to put the interest of Ghana first above all other individual and parochial interests when debating issues of national importance in parliament.

In the statement signed by GCBC President, Archbishop Philip Naameh, the Bishops say, “The peace which Christ brings to us and which all of us desire cannot be experienced if false prophecies and prophetic utterances continue to be entertained in our country as the new norm.”

“In recent years especially the season of Christmas leading to the new year, there have been too many false prophecies made of which some have created fear, panic and tensions in our society,” GCBC members say. 

In the light of these experiences in previous years, Catholic Bishops in Ghana call on all Christian ministers in the country “to desist from giving false prophecies and from other such practices which only tend to discredit the Christian church and the Gospel of Christ.”

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In their collective statement titled, “Peace with God, Peace Among Humanity, Peace with All Creation”, the Bishops express “great concern” about the high rates of road accidents in the country. 

“Another very worrying phenomenon which is of great concern to us and to all well-meaning Ghanaians is the spate of accidents in our country and its resultant carnage on our roads,” they say, and cite statistics which indicate that 2,600 lives were lost in the accidents in November this year. 

To avoid the loss of lives and pain, Catholic Bishops in Ghana urge all road users to observe all traffic rules and regulations.

“The best and most valuable asset of any nation is its human capital. The loss of a single life on our roads causes so much pain to families and communities, and this takes away the peace we all cherish,” the Bishops say. 

In the five-page statement, GCBC members address the need for humanity to care for the environment, which is experiencing “massive environmental degradation and ecological crisis.”

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“We wish also to draw the attention of all Ghanaians to the fact that peace is not only about tranquility among humans, but also the harmony that exists between humans and all non-human creatures of God, which equally have a right to the environment as a home,” they say 

The Bishops add, “Our natural resources have continuously and carelessly been exploited for economic gains, leading to the current unacceptable levels of pollution and destruction of our arable farmlands and water bodies.”

“As we look forward to the peaceful Kingdom of the Messiah at Christmas wherein creation returns to its original harmonious state, we wish once again to appeal to all Ghanaians as we have done several times in the past, to eschew all selfish, indifferent and irresponsible ways and actions by which we continue to destroy Ghana's environment,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say. 

In place of negative practices that affect the environment, they say Ghanaians “must all adopt an attitude of care and responsible stewardship towards our environment by living a new ecological lifestyle characterized by simplicity, moderation and sobriety in order to save our country's environment for today and the future.”

In the December 17 statement, the Bishops encourage Ghanaians “to extend deeds of care and love to the most unfortunate ones in our midst – the poor and the needy, the marginalized and the less privileged, including prisoners, street children, mentally handicapped people, widows, orphans, etc.”

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“We believe that by doing so, the peace, joy and love which the birth of Jesus Christ brings to the whole world would also be felt by our unfortunate brothers and sisters in Ghana for whom life becomes even more unbearable during these festive occasions,” GCBC members say. 

“Our hope and prayer are also that all of us will strive to live in peace with God, with one another and with the natural environment around us,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana further say, and implore, “As we enter into the new year, 2022, we pray that the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church and Help of Christians, will continue to accompany us and sustain us.”