Friday, October 3, 2008

No mass for Catholics Dec 7

Catholics in Ghana will not go to church on election day, Sunday, December 7,2008, to enable them exercise their franchise.

In a gesture uncharacteristic of many Christian faiths, the church has decided to celebrate the Eucharist of Sunday, December 7 in the evening of Saturday, December 6, in line with liturgical norms which dictate that "the observance of Sunday and of solemnities begin with the evening of the preceding day".

The Catholic Bishops Conference, which took the decision and conveyed same in a Pastoral Letter, urged all Ghanaians to live in peace because "we are one people, with a common destiny".

The date for this year's general election, which falls on a Sunday, has generated serious concerns among the Christian community in view of the day being a sacred one to Christianity.

Some churches and Christians have even requested a change in the date fur the elections but the Electoral Commission (EC) has remained resolute.

Sunday, December 7, 2008 is a special day on the Christian calendar and for the Catholic faith in particular because it marks the celebration of the Lord's Supper or Mass, during which a priest presides in the person of Christ to celebrate the memory of the Lord, a ritual popularly known as the Eucharist.

"Sunday has a special place in our life.

We want a general dispensation and urge through Christ.

"As Christian citizens, we ought to be concerned about the country's stability and growth; we should seek to promote the common good and interest in all activities," the Bishops indicated.

They advised Ghanaians to refrain from acts of provocation and violence, ethnic bigotry, intolerance, insults, insinuations and intimidation.

The Bishops expressed concern about certain attitudes, positions, statements and actions that did not only suggest but also reinforce violence in the body politic, adding, "In as much as we appreciate the crucial nature of Election 2008, we would also like to remind all of us of the need to preserve and deepen the peace we enjoy as a country."

They urged the political parties to also call to order any of their members who might be found engaging in any unacceptable behaviour that undermined the principles of democracy and also obscured facts and truths by which voters were to make informed decisions.

The Catholic Bishops reminded the EC that every election had its own peculiar challenges which must be .addressed and, therefore, encouraged the commission to undertake broader stakeholder consultations to address the challenges to deepen its integrity and that of the electoral process.

They called on all political parties to stick to issues that would promote the growth of the people, while asking them to strengthen their internal systems and structures to curb incidents of hooliganism and intolerance.

On the media, the Bishops stressed the need for the highest sense of responsibility and professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

"We call on the media to preserve with pride their noble duty to inform and educate and to promote an intelligent debate of issues. A high level of circumspection will be of great benefit to the country," they advised.

The Bishops commended the law enforcement agencies for their diligence and call to duty so far but called on them "to be proactive, decisive and professional in addressing and responding to lawlessness".

They urged Ghanaians to seek divine guidance in selecting candidates and casting their votes, while recommending to the leaders of the political parties to have regular periods of sober reflection for divine guidance and assistance.

The Bishops further asked politicians to let their utterances and activities be guided by the spirit of Christian charity, while they did unto others what they wanted others to do unto them.

They called on Ghanaians to join in prayer for the wisdom and right judgement to select leaders for the country and prayed that God would preserve the people from falsehood, intolerance and violence and grant the nation grace and peace to serve Him in true freedom and peace.

Source: Daily Graphic

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