RE: Archbishop Palmer-Buckle ‘Sacks’ Journalists From Church

The attention of the Planning Committee of the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Prayer Service had been drawn to news circulating in the Media that the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev. Gabriel Palmer-Buckle has sacked Journalists of the Presidential Press Corps from the Holy Spirit Cathedral during the Service on Saturday, March 4, 2017

The headline of story sourced to and published on on March 4 reads: “Archbishop Palmer Buckle ‘sacks’ journalists from Church”. The story itself reads:

“Presidential Press corps abandoned [email protected] anniversary church service attended by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo after the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Archbishop Gabriel Palmer Buckle sent them packing out of the Holy Spirit Cathedral for setting up their cameras next to his own camera. The Archbishop told the presidential press corps that the Cathedral was his and he calls the shots and that he determines the position his camera should be positioned. EIB’s Wilberforce Asare reported that the disappointed press team respectfully packed out of the church before the service started.”

The headline of another publication sourced to reads: “Presidential press corps abandons Akufo-Addo at Church”. The story itself reads:

“Press corps abandoned the President after they were treated rudely by Palmer Buckle. The Presidential press corps on Saturday abandoned the President at the Holy Spirit cathedral in Accra after they were treated rudely by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.

Archbishop Gabriel Palmer Buckle reportedly ordered the media to move their cameras from the frontal of the church where they had set up to cover the president because the cameras obstructed his personal one which had been mounted in front of the church. According to Starr News’ Presidential correspondent, Wilberforce Asare, the Archbishop told the pressmen that the church was his and he must remain in control. The pressmen who were shocked, packed their accoutrement and left the premises even before the service could start.
President Akufo-Addo attended the service which was being held at the instance of the Ghana at 60 Committee.”

We wish to state that since the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Prayer Service was a solemn liturgical service taking place in a Catholic Cathedral, the Archbishop only dispassionately explained to the cameramen to position themselves at a usual reserved place for the media during liturgical functions in the Cathedral to avoid distractions.

The Archbishop as the Chief Shepherd of the Archdiocese with the Cathedral as his seat, also reminded the Media that it was a service of prayer, hence the need to observe the solemnity of the programme. We want to place on record that, it was never and had never been the intention of Archbishop Palmer-Buckle to sack any journalist from the Cathedral as purported by the above reports but he was giving a liturgical directive to protect the sacred ambience of the liturgical space.

In a Catholic liturgical service, it is inappropriate to distract the Service and the people with movements with cameras. This has always been the norm in the Catholic Church according to its liturgical norms.

Again, we wish to correct an erroneous impression in the reports that Archbishop Palmer said their cameras obstructed his personal one which had been mounted in front of the church. On record, the Archbishop drew the attention of the Media that their cameras were distracting and obstructing the faithful who were to participate fully, knowingly and actively in the liturgical service.

If in any way, the Media misconstrued the Archbishop’s explanation, we, members of the Planning Committee, would like to render an unqualified apology and wish to assure the Media that the Catholic Church will continue to collaborate with them in the discharge of their duties.

Issued by:
The Planning Committee
c/o Department of Social Communications
National Catholic Secretariat, Accra.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017.