Togo’s Archbishop Emeritus Displaying Church’s “partisan political positions”: Reflection

Archbishop Emeritus of Lome, Philippe Fanoko Kpodzro hands over the Togolese flag to Messan Agbeyomé Kodjo, one of the presidential candidates on February 1, 2020.

An African missionary ministering in the West African nation of Togo has disapproved the recent endorsement of the opposition candidate in the country by the Archbishop Emeritus of Lome, Philippe Fanoko Kpodzro and, considering the government’s claims that the Catholic Church is partisan, has described the Togolese Prelate as a “symbol of a politically partisan Church.”

On Saturday February 1, during Holy Mass to consecrate Togo to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Archbishop Kpozro handed over the country’s flag to the former Prime Minister Messan Agbeyomé Kodjo, a sign of his endorsement for the upcoming February 22 presidential elections.

“The Catholic Church in Togo is going through difficult times. If she is attacked by the political power in place, fundamentally accusing her of being partisan, she must also suffer from the very controversial attitude of her Archbishop Emeritus and Dean of Bishops, His Excellency Mgr. Kpozro, who does not miss any opportunity to display its partisan political positions,” Fr. Donald Zagore has said in a reflection shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, February 5.

“This political mass remains the crowning achievement of a number of partisan speeches and political actions on the part of the Archbishop Emeritus,” the member of the Society of Africam Missions (SMA) added.

He described the Archbishop’s attitude as “a serious attack on the prophetic fight of the Church” and clarified, “There are fundamental principles that we must remember, the Church through the voice of its pastors must be able to transcend partisan political positions to defend the essential of the political struggle which is the defense of justice and truth.”


In a February 3 collective statement, the Catholic Bishops in Togo denied the allegations of being partisan, and instead qualified their interest in the country’s affairs as the Church taking “its rightful place in the ongoing process of institutional reform” as advised by Pope Francis during their ad limina visit to Vatican on May 11, 2015.

Reflecting on the actions by Archbishop Kpozro, Fr. Zagore continued, “The Church must in no case become an instrument of division, especially on the political level.  The Church has its raison d'être (reason of being) only if it is able to unite,” the Ivorian religious stressed and cautioned, “To instrumentalize the ecclesial apparatus for the benefit of the political is to be condemned with all possible energy. The Church’s evangelizing mission must be free from ambiguity and compromise.”

To preserve the prophetic character of the very nature of the Church, Fr. Zagore leaves it “to the most authoritative of the Catholic Church to react to these political excesses of Archbishop Emeritus Kpodzro.”

“Too much silence in the face of this situation would seriously undermine the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church in Togo,” Fr. Zagore has concluded.