Two Catholics of the Accra Archdiocese said on Friday that it was unjustified for people to smear the Catholic Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev Charles Palmer-Buckle and Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Rev Fr Andrew Campbell, two men of God who are performing magnificently in the Lord’s Vineyard.
Mr Andy Agyekum of the St Margaret-Mary Parish of Dansonman and Mr John Theophilus Warmann, the Immediate Past Chairman of the Christ the King Parish Pastoral Council, told the GNA in separate interviews that those behind the attacks on the two priests are doing so out of entirely personal motives and not for the common good.
They told the GNA that the Holy Father is satisfied with Most Rev Palmer-Buckle’s performance in shepherding his flock and Archbishop Palmer-Buckle is pleased with the way Rev Fr Campbell carries out his priestly responsibilities.
Mr Warmann said in January 2011, Mr Daniel Dugan, who is piloting the smear campaign against his Archbishop and his Parish Priest, assumed Chairmanship of the Christ the King Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) under his Parish Priest, who is the President of the Council.
“It is incorrect to describe the process by which Mr. Dugan became Chairman of the PPC as a contest. He was nominated by the Council to chair it. As PPC Chairman, Mr Dugan’s primary role, collective with Council, was to assist the Parish Priest to sanctify, teach and govern the faith community of Christ the King Parish” he said
Mr Warmann said all parish priests are the first shepherds and the Archbishop’s designates at their parishes and should anything happen at a Parish, the Archbishop’s first recourse will be the Parish Priest and not the PPC Chairman.
He said in the better judgement of the Archbishop he asked Mr Dugan to step down from office sometime in April/May 2011, in a personal letter to him and since then Mr Dugan has been smearing the Archbishop and the Parish Priest in media publications.
“Mr. Dugan, a Deputy Minister in the Kufuor Administration, is trying hard to taint the Archbishop with some political coloration, claiming to be a victim as a result and makes all manner of spurious allegations.”
Mr Warmann said knowing very well that the lips of all Catholic priests are sealed, more so those of the Archbishop, Mr Dugan has been levelling all manner of accusations against the Archbishop and his Parish Priest following the Archbishop’s action against him
He said Mr Dugan claimed some Catholics were allowed to combine both political and church office but this was denied him and saw this as discrimination against him.
Mr Warmann said journalists trumpeting Mr Dugan’s cause should ask him to produce the Archbishop’s personal letter advising him to resign. “In fairness to his cause I wish to dare Mr. Dugan to publish in full the Archbishop’s letter to him for all readers to be fully apprised of the reasons that led to his resignation.”
If Mr Dugan alleges any impropriety by the Archbishop with regards to church levies and inflated expenses at the Christ the King Parish, he should complain to the Christ the King Parish Council.
“The Parish Council has on it a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, a Director of the Bank of Ghana and an eminent jurist among others who are capable of dealing with his complaints,” Mr Warmann said. Mr Agyekum said it is almost laughable for a newspaper to claim Most Rev Palmer-Buckle had acquired a “magnificent house”, at Abokobi.
“The same newspaper had earlier published that the Archbishop had bought a house at Trassaco Valley, may be next time we may hear that he has bought the Peduase Lodge,” he said.
Mr Agyekum said to accuse Rev Fr Campbell of financial impropriety is unthinkable because the man left his country, Ireland, at age 26 and has since been performing his priestly responsibilities to the satisfaction of his flock and his Bishop and has won national awards.
“Who is not aware of Rev Fr Campbell’s work with lepers and the Children’s Hospital?” he asked and added that he had raised huge amounts of money from abroad and poured them into his charity work in Ghana.
He said Father Campbell had also raised money internally and that recently a company owned by a Muslim donated GH˘60,000 for his charity work and another owned by a Hindu has pledged a mini-bus for the same cause and expressed surprise at such a man being accused of misappropriation of funds.
A parishioner of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Sakumono Estates, suggested that the reasons for Mr Dugan’s removal as Chairman of the Christ the King Parish Pastoral Council should be made public.
He said if possible and if it not against the Catholic Church’s Canon Law, the Archbishop’s personal letter to him asking him to resign should be published for all Catholics to read because the faithful are being tortured.
“We are not pleased about the smear campaign against our Archbishop and Rev Fr Campbell. The Rev Father played a great role in building our church at Sakumono when Corpus Christi was an outstation of the Good Shepherd Parish under Fr Campbell.”
“ May be, once in a while when things are getting out of hand and some priests are being mauled without justification, their mouths should be unsealed at least for one hour,” the parishioner said.
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