Ghana is a secular Republic and it has been my position that, in the greater interest of nationhood, religion should be separated from statecraft. However, one cannot deny the social contributions that faith-based institutions have made and the impact they continue to have on the lives of Ghanaians the world over. While faith is neither necessary nor sufficient for morality, it plays an important role in shaping the moral code.
I believe that we should, as Ghanaians, pride ourselves in being a highly spiritual Republic. We must pay more attention, wherever we go, to what unites us than what divides us. Ghana, although predominantly Christian with a large Muslim population, is deeply rooted in ancient traditionalism.
I am a member of the Holy Catholic Church and, I must admit, not the most prudent one: although I frequent the grotto quite often, I could improve the regularity of my attendance to church.
The Catholic values of endurance, the joy of work, fraternal love, and generosity in forgiving others and, above all, the offering of one’s life at the service of the others are shared by people of every faith. Catholicism preaches tolerance for other religions and spiritual beliefs.
I have always been fascinated by the Church and I was privileged to observe, at an early age, the sacred mysteries of the church. The architecture, art, music and therapeutic rituals all come together to create a superior sense of divinity and inner-peace. My greatest influence in the ancient Catholic religious institution has been my grandmother, Agatha Bentuma Djokoto - a staunch Marshallan. She taught me about the Rosary Novena at a very early age and guided me through the process of reciting it.
These values were reinforced during my primary education at a strict Catholic school, the Christ the King International School, and it has served me thoroughly well throughout my trials and tribulations in life. I have, therefore, felt at first hand, the healing power of the church's pastoral care and benefited from the work of a superb team of educationists in an excellent educational institution.
Serving society better
A good Catholic: nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects his/her neighbour. These are responsibilities that belong to all Ghanaians, especially towards the poor, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the hungry, the thirsty and the lost.
As Catholics, let us be good citizens: everyone who is entrusted with the care of others is a leader. Hence, parents, priests, doctors, government officials are all leaders. We become good leaders by loving those entrusted to us, caring for them, spending our time and talents for their welfare, and guarding them from danger.
Let us also be diligent in our duty as good Catholic citizens of Ghana: our local communities are our responsibilities. Hence, as good citizens of the community, we are expected to be a solid support system behind our leaders. We are expected to cooperate with our leaders by giving them positive suggestions for the welfare of the community, by encouraging them in their duties, by lovingly offering them constructive criticism when they are found misbehaving or failing in their duties, and by praying for them. We are also expected to cooperate with our fellow-citizens in the activities of various charity initiatives.
The Church – as part of civil society – provides citizens with an opportunity to contribute to debates on issues of public policy, to exert an influence for our common good in areas of political, economic and social concern, and to help shape legislative developments.
Let us, as good Catholics, with the help of God, become better servant-citizens towards building a just Ghanaian society.