The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has called on public office holders to lead by example and conduct themselves with integrity and love.
The call was made in an eight-point communiqué signed by Most Reverend Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese and President of the Conference and issued over the weekend in Sunyani to end their 2013 Annual Plenary Assembly.
It also climaxed the observation of 2013 as the Year of Faith by the Church worldwide.
The eight-day conference on the theme: “New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith in Ghana” was attended by four Archbishops, 13 Bishops and an Apostolic Vicars of the Church’s hierarchy in the country.
The communiqué challenged politicians and all public office holders “to endeavour to influence others more by their honesty than anything else”.
It noted that “no area of human life is exempt from the light of the Gospel”, hence the urgent need of evangelisation of the civil and political lives of the country, the communiqué said.
The communiqué said: “The road to a civil and political society inspired by the Gospel values passes through the hearts of men and women who act in these areas.
“The hearts and consciences of our civil and political leaders must be attuned to the requirements of the common good and the welfare of the people they lead.”
The demands of the new evangelisation require those holding public offices “to be men and women of proven integrity with sincere love for the welfare of the people they govern”, the communiqué said.
The communiqué expressed concern about the indiscriminate exploitation of the nation’s natural resources that had led to the wanton destruction of the environment.
“Our role as collaborators with God is fundamentally one of stewardship and not exploitation”.
It explained human beings were called to share in the creative works of God through their socio-economic activities which were meant to provide for the development and growth of a just and peaceful society.
“We have a God-given task to protect and use the environment judiciously and with responsibility for future generations who equally have a stake in the world.”
The communiqué expressed delight in the efforts being made by government and civil society organisations to address the situation and called on the Environmental Protection Agency and other bodies of similar mandate to do more to protect the nation’s natural resources.
It exhorted pastors in localities where destructive activities of the environment like illegal mining, indiscriminate felling of trees through chainsaw operations and bushfires are being carried out to support advocacy programmes on behalf of the people whose lands and sources of livelihood are being threatened.
The communiqué appealed to traditional leaders to resist the temptation of collaborating with the perpetrators of such crimes.