[Opinion] The Sentinel: The Church and Partisan Political Appointment
It is the Sentinel once again. The poor watchman whose duty as god himself spells out, is to speak his word as it is to his people for the purposes of saving souls from damnation.
Due to the risky nature of the vocation, he ought to meditate more in order not to misrepresent God’s Will. As regards the hazards and threats, so shall it be in so far as he speaks the truth.
What is the role of the Church in the State? How far can the Church go in Serving God in the State? What is the mandate of the Church on earth? These and a few questions will be the focus of the Sentinel’s Reflection.
I must state that since the news of the appointment of a Catholic Priest as a High Court Judge, many have expressed joy and happiness about it. May I add my voice to the felicitations. However, there is a danger which needs to be looked at especially for future purposes.
From the onset, God has been the sole dive ruler of all his creatures. Israel had a Theocracy – rule by God – until they requested for Democracy – rule by human beings. So, Saul was the First human king of Israel. David succeeded him and became God’s Beloved King because he Reigned in God’s Grace and Name. After him came Solomon who Deviated from God’s grace by committing Adultery and Idolatry. It went on and on until the Promised Messiah was Born to Reform the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Christ the King:
I see it as very Prophetic to have the Presidential House of the state overseen by the Christ the King Parish. Only a road separates the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Formerly, when the seat of Government was at the Castle, St. Peter was overseeing him. But now, it is Christ the King Himself.
I hear the President of Italy resides near the Vatican in Rome. However, the Vatican is superior to and independent of the State. Jesus Christ was definite about His Kingdom as Opposed to Caesar’s when He answered Pilate: My Kingdom is Not of This World. Besides what He Himself endured as a Spiritual King, Jesus Cautioned His Disciples About the Ways of Worldly Leaders When He Said: “They Will Hand You Over to The Sanhedrin …I Am Sending You Out as Sheep Among Wolves”.
Today’s Sanhedrin – The Judiciary
The Roman empire was one of the most organized kingdoms of the world. They made good use of Civil Law. Such was the reason why although the Jewish Judiciary (the Sanhedrin), accused Paul, he was sent to Rome for trials. In the first three Centuries of the Church, Jesus’ Prophecy about the disciples and the judicial Council came to pass as they faced trials before execution.
In Ghana today, the Judicial Service serves as the Sanhedrin. Thus, every deviation from the constitution is tried at the court. So, we have seen civilians, traditionalists, Politicians and even Clergymen facing magistrates and Judges.
St. Paul, a lawyer:
St. Paul was an Astute Lawyer – A Teacher of The Law. He used to condemn Christians when he was on the other side. However, after his Conversion, he was Condemned by his comrades over the Truth About the Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
St. Thomas Moore versus the King of England:
England was evangelized by St. Pope Gregory the Great. He sent about forty Monks to England. St. Thomas Moore was a Fruit of The Conversion of England. St. Pope Gregory the Great was a Politician. An astute, a forthright and devout man. Having served the state faithfully, he joined the monastery and worked hard to reform The Benedictine Monastery. As a Pope, St. Gregory established the Vatican as an independent religious State and saved it from Political influence.
It is therefore not surprising that St. Thomas Moore who was the Chancellor of the Church in England, excommunicated the king who could not keep to the Church’s Moral standards by marrying a second wife. St. Thomas Moore was more loyal to the Church than the Kingdom of England. For him, it was God First, Church second, and State third.
When the Church became a State:
It must be noted that at some points in time, the Church assumed supremacy over state. Bishops were final Authorities over Temporal Goods. Such times saw the Church making several mistakes. For instance, the genius scientist, Galileo, was murdered because of Church stance on science. We thank God that St. John Paul II apologized on behalf of the Church. Many other Religious mistakes led to the French revolution and the separation of the State from the Church. Hence, we had the likes of Carl Marx referring to Religion as an Opium. Marx Werber also helped with Work Ethics and Principles of Bureaucracy and Productivity.
However, capitalism which subdued the worker and reduced him to a mere animal was heavily criticized by Popes, hence, the institution of May Day as Workers Day. It was a way of restoring the Worker’s lost Dignity.
Church and Political Appointments:
So, it came to a point when the Church outlawed Clergy’s Participation in Partisan Politics. Hence, the Law: Canon 285 par 3 states, “Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.”
So, do we deem it appropriate in our current political dispensation to have a Priest be appointed by the President as A High Court Judge? Truly, the dispensation for permitting a priest to participate in such civil office is of good will. But the turbulent Political terrain does not encourage such an offer.
- 1. Political Affiliations: we all know that there is no way a President will appoint an opposition lawyer into such a higher office. Even lower offices are partisan because of job for the boys. Hence, it becomes glaring, and it feeds into the perception that the church is tilted toward a particular political party.
- Secularism Tendencies are Fostered: per the explanation given, it means that the Priest judge has lost his public status. Will he have joined the monastery if his Bishop had recommended? Yet, one who nourished the souls of many has been cut off from them. Care must be taken to preserve the spiritual and religious identity of the Church.
- Impact on Church and State: we are witnesses to the problems which the Auditor General faced. Did he underperform? We all know that it was due to his diligent work at helping the President to protect the public purse that he was forced into professional exile. Yet, the office is an independent body. But such is the power of Caesar. So, what influence do we expect from a Priest who is supposed to be more shaper than the Auditor General in protecting the public purse. So, here are two Catholics – one’s rights are trampled upon while his Priest who is supposed to fight for his right is been offered a juicy political appointment. Let us imagine how Mr. Domelovo and his family will welcome the news. Yet, due to dirty political interests, an opposition may dent the image of the Holy Priest and by extension, the Church. Again, how do we expect Catholics on the other side to react.
- How far are we as a Church? Some people argued that we have Priest’s participation in other civil sectors. Let us evaluate each of them and see if the Church has benefitted in terms of Spiritual Influence in the State:
a. Health: As I write, nurses are on strike. Our Catholic Hospitals are also empty of nurses because they are on government payroll. Yet, a hospital like Narh Bita has her nurses at post because they are privately trained and paid. Should the Church depend on the state in training and paying her professionals? Where are our Catholic Health Guilds across the country? Still on Health, where were we when the likes of lawyer Moses foe fought the comprehensive sexual education when we knew the health implications of these anti life agenda? Are we aware that Catholics in the public sector are performing wilful abortion?
b. Education: As for Education, the least said the better. When was the last time the Church paid teachers and so controlled our schools? Even when the President promised us our schools, what have Catholics teachers and directors (Priests) done to wean the schools from Government Influence? Where were Catholic Education Units in the face of the CSE?
c. Security: I am informed that Priests chaplains in the Security Services Retire at a point because beyond is a Political Appointment. So, if we have a Priest Judge, we may as well have a Priest IGP or CDF. Besides, what influence has Priests on our Security Unrests? They are concerned but that they are paid by the State renders them venomless.
d. Political Wisdom: it is a politically wise decision to have a son of the warrior in the palace of a King so that he can’t attack the Kingdom. The church by far is the moral standard of the world. Hence, it will be difficult for her to bite hard at government over judicial instabilities because her beloved son is on the bench. He may be forthright but the political environment will not enhance his good will.
I am sure that many people may not be happy with the Sentinel’s sober reflection on the Church’s growing involvement in political matters. I should be the happiest person to hear that all priests are occupying civil offices to transform the state. However, if what we see in the church is anything to go by, it will be unfortunate for a priest to impact on the world except on one condition: preaching the truth from the pulpits to our parishioners.
I believe that the transformation we are looking for in the world must begin in the church. A good Catholic is a good civil servant; a good Catholic is a good politician; a good Catholic is a good stateman or stateswoman. Let us therefore, focus on our mission to teach the truth in the church, and it will powerfully affect every sector of life. Indeed, a corrupt state loves to rub her skin to the church insofar as she does not promote high moral standards. If she does, the state will keep an arm’s length.
Have we seen how NDC pastors are targets of scandals, it is just a matter of time for the NDC to also drag the NPP pastors in the mud. The two parties thrive on revenge and retaliation.
May the church retreat in sober prayer and deliberate on how to salt the earth and light the world without meddling in political matters. I am inspired by the call of St. Matthew, the tax collector…
Peace and joy!!!
Source: The Sentinel