Rev. Fr. Andrew Campbell, SVD has stated that the dwindling Catholic population in Ghana is as a result one’s inability to appreciate the true beliefs of the Catholic Church and how deeply the teachings and practices of the church are ingrained the Bible.

The priest said that most of the Catholics who are leaving the church have been sufficiently impacted by other denominations since they felt the Catholic Church lacked the enthusiasm and spirit that the bulk of the charismatic and pentecostal churches have.

Speaking on Metro TV’s One on One programme, the Irish-Ghanaian Catholic missionary who has bowed out of service and is currently focused on humanitarian work said : “I feel many catholics don’t understand as they should. The precious gift, the gift we have, at Mass when a priest put his hand over the Eucharist over bread and says this is my body, this my blood. I mean there is so much and even now I am 51 going on to 52 years a priest and I am still learning more. I am still appreciating more the catholic faith”

He added “We are blessed with teachings of the Holy Mass, Communion, our Confession, our Rosary. Our bible we’ve all of these teachings in the church and that is what keeps me going”

Current Situation

The percentage of Catholics in Ghana has been on the decline for several decades, according to national censuses, and this has raised concerns among the church hierarchy in Ghana.

In a space of 20 years, there has been a 5.1 percent reduction in Catholic population in Ghana.
The number of faithful in Ghana’s Catholic Church decreased from 15.1 in 2000 to 13.1 as of 2010 (down from 15.1)

The Catholic population had decreased significantly as of 2021, with the current figure standing at 10% of the total population. As a result, the Laity has increased pressure on the church to increase its efforts to maintain its membership and put a stop to Catholics switching to other denominations.

It should be mentioned that compared to other actively practiced religions in Ghana, Christians account for a higher proportion of the population there.

The trend has also seen some priests breaching the standing order of the church.
Reverend Fr. Robert A.K. Oduro, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, was most recently suspended for refusing to be transferred and for starting a private prayer camp.

Other Catholics who left the church and joined other faiths revealed that the church does not meet the spiritual needs of its members.

Ms. Petra Ackon, a former member of the St. Matthew Parish, responded to the question by saying: “Since I’ve been a member of my present church, I’ve come to realize that going to church is about more than just seeing the priests lead tedious services. The holy spirit is mostly felt when I pray and i as well speak in tongues which is something I never experienced as a Catholic.”

Efforts

There have been numerous attempts to rein in the issue, even though the hierarchy of the church is burdened with worries about it.

In an effort to buck the trend, Rev. Fr. Francis Adoboli of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra urged the necessary parties to develop workable plans that would enable the Church to significantly increase at the time of the next census.

He said that the Catholic Church in Ghana does not need to invent the wheel but rather must tenaciously search for the narrative’s gaping hole.

He outlined that “we must all work hard and improve on our preaching ministry noting that this is a vital area where a number of us are blamed for “poorly prepared, often stale, and largely irrelevant homilies that are fueling the mass exodus of people from the
Church.”

He stressed that It was therefore urgent that the church found new approaches to preparation and delivery of homilies.

He added that existing church societies, associations and groups must be taken through reorientation to make them include missionary discipleship as the core mandate of their ministry.

Fr. Adoboli emphasised “the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) should have a major role in our plans and strategies. Studies have shown that in places where the CCRs have been assigned responsibilities in the evangelising mission in line with their charisms, those parish communities have experienced encouraging spiritual revivals and growth.

While acknowledging tensions that sometimes arise in some parishes between priests and the CCR, He said “it ought to be stated that many of these lapses are due to misconceptions about the essence of the charismatic gifts and the hierarchical gifts, and the corresponding relationships that should exist between these two dimensions of the church

By Edith Mensah

Edith Mensah is a trained journalist who believes in delivering up to the mark contents and has utmost regard for ethical standards. Kindly get in touch via email- [email protected] +233202152290