General News of Tuesday, 27 July 2010
Accra, July 27, GNA- Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday called for a closer partnership between the church and state to address the high level of injustice, unfairness and irresponsibility on the African continent.
"Although Africa has achieved a lot in the few decades, there are still some traces of injustice, unfairness and irresponsibility that the church needs to champion in partnership with various governments in Africa to erase for Africans to realize their potentials."
Vice President Mahama made this call when he inaugurated a five-day conference of the Catholic Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in Accra.
SECAM which was formed on July 31, 1969 in Kampala, Uganda, is a Catholic continental organization which seeks to promote collaboration and joint action to address the development challenges of Africa.
Currently, it has a membership of 500 Bishops, Arch-Bishops and Cardinals from all African countries, 37 National Bodies and nine Regional Bodies that undertake their projects and programmes in the continent.
The theme for the first ever SECAM conference in Ghana is: "The 40th Anniversary of SECAM, Self-reliance and the way forward in Africa."
The Vice President said the Catholic Church had pioneered in the provision of numerous social programmes such as schools, health facilities, orphanages that were crucial and complementary to government's efforts in the provision of social amenities.
"In the past few years, Africa has witnessed the emergence of vibrant media, deregulation of the communication system and the rise of so many radio stations, but we still need good leadership to enable us acquire better and quality life in our society."
Vice President Mahama appealed to the church to chart the path of Regional integration that would empower them to become self-reliant and compete favourably with other continents.
"I will particularly like to commend the Catholic Church in Ghana for initiating the inter-religious dialogue and tolerance that had also encompassed political parties before and after our general elections over the years."
Most Rev. Leon B. Kalenga, the Apostolic Catholic Nuncio to Ghana, said the ultimate aim of SECAM was to confront the African tragic problems of frequent refugees, conflicts, poverty, hunger and diseases.
"The sad problem of Africa is that, it is abound with many resources and yet seen as the poorest continent with women and children seen as the most vulnerable in society."
He called for what he described as "Christian Action" to save the lives of women and children who were more hit in the event of wars, diseases and other man-made disruptions in the continent.
"Africans! Be yourselves, your destiny is in your own hands and you are the only ones that can fight to achieve your wishes."
He called on members of SECAM to use the organization as an instrument of peace and love that would draw more people to the word of God and ensure cohesion and unity in the continent.
Policarp Cardinal Pengo, President of SECAM, called on the Catholic Church to do more in the provision of material and human resource development to the societies they served to mirror out their roles and responsibilities.
Cardinal Pengo, who is also the Arch Bishop of Dar-Es-Salam in Tazania, hoped the deliberations in Ghana would give them the opportunity to come out with workable ideas that would help solve the challenges of Africans.
There were solidarity messages from the Ghana Bishops conference, the German Bishops conference, Conference of the European Bishops and the Vatican.