The lay faithful of the Catholic Church in Ghana have noted with concern the vicious verbal attacks on the integrity of Catholic Bishops by one Mr. Kevin Taylor in reaction to comments made by the Secretary-General of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) on the consequences that await political parties who don’t demonstrate commitment to ending vigilantism in Ghana. These have been transmitted on Social Media and through some media houses with some prominence on Ghanaweb which featured an article on the subject on 11th February 2020.
The lay faithful are deeply hurt by the disproportionate reaction of Mr. Taylor which sought to tarnish the hard-won reputation and integrity of these Men of God who have worked hard over the years for the common good of Ghanaians. They cautioned that the unfortunate remarks amounted to an attack on the Catholic Church which has members from all sides of the political divide. There is no doubt that all Ghanaians have the right to comment on issues of interest but this must be done with some decorum since freedom of speech comes with some responsibilities.
The Catholic lay faithful are solidly behind the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), a major stakeholder in ensuring that peace and unity prevail in Ghana. The Bishops have played major roles and continue to contribute their quota towards the efforts of the National Peace Council which is making great strides to maintain the peace in Ghana. The GCBC has always made its views on National issues very clear and these have always emanated from serious deliberations in the interest of all Ghanaians. During their annual plenaries, they thoroughly discuss topical national matters and issue communiques, which implementation could benefit all Ghanaians. For instance, in 2018 they made their position on vigilantism clear when a communique was issued at the end of their Plenary Assembly held from 9-16 November that year in Techiman.
On political vigilantism, the Bishops stated that ‘We are very much concerned about the existence and emergence of many political vigilante groups in our country. These groups act with impunity and in disregard of the rule of law. They destroy property, terrorize and harm people perceived to be in the opposing camp.
Over the years, it is becoming clear that Government and the Security agencies seem helpless when it comes to addressing the issue of political vigilantism. We condemn in no uncertain terms all forms of vigilantism and appeal to the government to take the necessary steps to immediately outlaw all these groups’.
It should be noted that the Secretary-General is the spokesperson of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) so it is appropriate to seek clarification on any issue pertaining to the church from him or the President of the GCBC before reacting the way that Mr. Taylor did. Even if the Secretary-General erred in his remarks the Bishops should not have been lambasted or disrespected in the way Mr Taylor did. The lay faithful expect Mr. Taylor to do the needful by apologizing to the Bishops and Catholics in Ghana.
They pledge their support to the efforts of the National Peace Council and other stakeholders who are working hard to ensure that our beloved country does not lose the prevailing peace and unity through vigilantism and therefore, appeal to all concerned to offer their maximum cooperation.
Long live Ghana
Long live the Catholic Church
Prof. Elias N. K. Sowley (0506388784)
Chairman, National Catholic Laity Council