Archbishop Charles Gabriel Angela Palmer-Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, has expressed his displeasure at irresponsible media outlets that try to distort facts and make them seem like the truth.
The Herald newspaper on November 10 published a story with the headline “Palmer-Buckle breaks ranks with Catholic Bishops over poverty under Akufo-Addo”.
In the story, the Herald stated that, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, appears divided on whether or not there is poverty in the country and what Christians must do amidst economic hardship.
The report further indicated, that while the President of the Conference, Most Reverend Philip Naameh, believed that economic hardship brought about by poverty “appears lost to those with power”, his colleague, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most. Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, insists despite complaints of economic hardship, Ghanaians must contribute towards the construction of the government’s National Cathedral.
Most Rev. Naameh, during the plenary session of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Wa, Upper West, last Monday said: “Poverty is grinding down millions of people all over the country, prices of essentials are rising daily, and people are struggling to keep families alive together. Though poverty stares us in the face, it appears lost to those with power.”
But Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, at a different gathering, justified the construction of the National Cathedral, despite the criticism against it, saying biblical Moses built a temple for God at a time the Israelites were suffering and wandering in the desert.
According to him, the argument by some critics that there is hardship and, therefore, constructing the cathedral was not important, does not hold water.
“The argument against this cathedral has been that there is hardship and people are hungry so forth and so forth”, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, noted at a fundraising event in the Eastern Regional capital Koforidua, to support the construction of the national cathedral. It is unclear if he was in Wa or chose the national cathedral project over the gathering of his peers.
“But when God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle for God, the Israelites were in the desert and didn’t have what to eat but they contributed and contributed so much that it exceeded expectations in building the Tabernacle,” he said.
Reacting to the report on the November 17 edition of Citi TV’s ‘The Point of View’ programme, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said, “As a journalist myself, I am very saddened by the deliberate, vicious, distortion [of the reportage]. I am the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Cathedral, it is true.”
He explained, “I was on a mission for the national cathedral on the 3rd of November in Cape Coast, 4th of November in Takoradi and 5th of November in Koforidua. I came to be Bishops’ Conference and I was there from Sunday through to Sunday.
“For a news media to extrapolate what I had said with the context of the National Cathedral fundraising launch and to bring it as if I was not there with the Bishops’ is dishonesty and this is where we are worried about the fact that journalism must stand up for truth, honest, fact, factual reporting and not distort the issues.”
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle continued: “I was there in these missions as the Vice-Chair and I was there at the Bishops’ conference, they were not mutually exclusive. We were doing the launch of national cathedral fundraising, people ask questions; everybody would ask you that there is so much poverty in the system, how do you then want to construct Cathedral and the rest.
“Anybody who knows the history of all the Cathedrals that had been constructed from the time Moses constructed the tabernacle right through to King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, through to the big Vatican Basilica and the Westminster Cathedral and the rest, poverty has always been with us.”
He further indicated that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference sent a rejoinder to the Herald to clarify their position.
The rejoinder clarified that “Palmer-Buckle was on Vice-Chair duties of the National Cathedral on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of November and he was present on the podium when the President of the Bishops’ Conference made his keynote address…”
He stressed that the Catholic Bishops’ are in favour of the construction of the National Cathedral and they have not said anywhere that they are against it.