The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has clarified that its silence and seeming indifference towards the construction of the National Cathedral by the Akufo-Addo government is as a result of the lack of information they have about the project almost 2 years after the idea was mooted, ABC News Ghana can report.
In an exclusive interview ABC News Ghana conducted with the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh intimated that the body has written to the Committee overseeing the construction of the National Cathedral to be briefed and clarify some issues they have identified to influence their stance on the matter but this is yet to yield any substantial result.
His submissions follows a barrage of criticisms that the Bishops’ Conference has been subjected to by a section of Ghanaians because of their loud silence and reluctance to speak publicly about the decision by the Akufo-Addo led government to put up the structure.
But Most Revered Naameh explained, “We are standing aside, I have written as president of the conference to this committee set up to promote this National Cathedral to send us the statutes. Thus, what the cathedral is going to do, who is going to be in charge. We will like to get the statues of the National Cathedral before we can offer the Ghanaian society our opinion”
In March 2017, Apostle Opoku Onyinah, Rev. Joyce Agree, Moderator, Presbyterian Church, Cephas Amenyo, Right. Rev. Offei Akrofi, Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, Rev. Eastwood Anaba, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, Pastor Mensa Otabil, Rev Dr. Frimpong Manso and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Professor. Emmanuel Martey were appointed unto the board to manage the project.
Most Reverend Asante Antwi – Chairman, Archbishop Charles Palmer Buckle – Vice Chairman, Prophet Kusi Boateng – Secretary to the Board were tasked by President Akufo-Addo to lead them to ensure the project comes to fruition.
The inclusion of former Archbishop of Accra, Charles Palmer Buckle has led many to believe that the Catholic Church is in the known and thus must have a stance.
But responding to such conception, Archbishop Naameh indicated that the Board of Trustees are individuals hand picked by the president to work on a project and does not represent the conference in anyway.
He, however, disclosed that the Conference questioned the Archbishop regarding the project in an attempt to obtain information after his inclusion.
“The people that are managing this were personally hand picked by the president and one of the Bishops is among. We have also asked him questions and have written officially to the committee to say that the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference will like to know what the national cathedral is all about because the president says it is his personal dream that when he becomes the president, he will build a cathedral for the country,” he opined.
The President of the Bishops’ Conference quickly suggested though that they cannot tell the president to stop the project but can only state a stance when they get adequate information on what the project is all about.
“We cannot tell the president not to build the cathedral. He is not a Catholic. but before we can support or say we are not supporting and tell Ghanaians why we are supporting or not supporting, or why we are supporting, we must get clearly what the statutes are saying about this Cathedral and that is what we have not gotten yet,” he said.