Home Opinion Press Releases Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu’s New Year Message To Ghanaians

Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu’s New Year Message To Ghanaians



Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord be to you all (cf. 2 Tim. 1:2).

Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu
Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu


My fellow Ghanaians, as we begin the year 2015, I would like you to join me in thanking God for the gift of a New Year. Let us thank the Lord for all the blessings of the past year and pray that he will shower his abundant blessings on us during the year 2015.

As we begin a new year, I would like to share some reflections with you on the need for peace in our lives during the coming year. We have just finished celebrating Christmas, the feast that commemorates the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Christmas challenges us to live in peace and to promote peace. We should do whatever we can to ensure that there is peace in our country during the coming year.

Peace and the Family

One of the most obvious areas where there is the need to promote peace in the New Year is the area of the family, the nucleus and basic cell of every society. Parents have a serious responsibility towards the children whom they have brought into this world. They should take good care of them and bring them up in accordance with the tenets of their faith. Working parents should ensure that they have time for their children, otherwise they will discover painfully one day that after they have made all the money in the world, they have wayward children.

When parents are away from their homes for long periods of time with no one to look after their children, these children can do whatever they want, including watching pornographic movies on television and on the internet. They can also engage in other immoral acts. Parents should ensure that their children dress decently, do not engage in all kinds of social vices including the taking of illicit drugs and in pre-marital sex. They should see to it that their children grow up with the traditional value of respect for elders and authority. They should also make sure that their children take their studies seriously because that is the key to success in our modern world. They should ensure that their children go to school instead of selling all manner of things, including dogs and dog chains, by the roadside. Husbands and wives should try to be faithful to each other and avoid extramarital relationships which only bring heartache to their spouses and ruin the marriage.

We should courageously fight against whatever militates against the family and good family values. There are people who are now vigorously advocating the legalization of homosexuality and same sex marriage. We should do whatever we can, in line with our religion and culture, to oppose the legalization of homosexuality which will spell doom for the family and family life.

The Economic Order and Peace

Another area that should be of concern to us in the New Year is the economic order. We need to do something as a nation about our work ethic, which is very bad. If we wish to make progress as a nation, we should take our work seriously. Ghana cannot make any progress economically when people go to work late, when they laze about in the workplace, read the newspapers and play lotto at work. Ghana cannot make any progress if workers have to take bribes before they render service to people. When people refuse to work hard but then collect their salaries at the end of the month, they are committing a social sin, a sin against the state.

The Political Order and Peace

On the political front, I urge our politicians to do their work conscientiously and avoid bribery and corruption. They should also avoid misappropriation of funds. In this connection we should bear in mind that the 1994 African Synod ?prayed fervently to the Lord that there would arise in Africa holy politicians ? both men and women ? and that there would be saintly Heads of State, who profoundly love their own people and wish to serve rather than be served (Ecclesia in Africa, par. 111)?. There should be no unnecessary and unhealthy rivalry between political parties. We should put an end to the culture of insults that is so prevalent in our country, especially in the political arena. Certain pronouncements and actions by highly-placed Ghanaians do not promote peace. Rather they create confusion, rancour, bitterness and resentment. We need to be frank with our politicians and point out their mistakes to them. We should put an end to sycophancy and bootlicking and have the courage to castigate our politicians when they go wrong.

Morality and Peace

Another area that we should be concerned about in the coming year is that of morality. As a nation we will not enjoy peace if there is immorality in the nation. In this connection, we should mention corruption. The Ghana Catholic Bishops? Conference has time and again spoken about the twin evils of bribery and corruption in our country but these evils continue to ravage every fabric of the Ghanaian society. Present-day Ghana is openly and pervasively corrupt. Corruption is found in some of the following categories of people and institutions: politicians, the judiciary, the security agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, DVLA, in our educational institutions, in the workplace, in the marketplace, in the men and women of the media, in sports, in some traditional rulers, in pastors and traditional priests. People at all levels of society are engaged in naked corruption with impunity. If corruption is rife in our country today, it is principally because, even though we have strong institutions, there is generally speaking a lack of integrity on the part of the people operating these institutions and on the part of many individuals in the country. If people were guided in their consciences by integrity and honesty, there would be no corruption or, at least, it would be reduced drastically, and Ghana would be a better place than it is today.

We should all endeavour to put an end to immorality in our lives. The desire for quick money should not drive us to stealing and armed robbery. The desire for material things makes some people sell their souls to the Devil and engage in ?sakawa?. All those engaged in business should be upright in their work. They should endeavour not to cheat their customers.

We should guard against the corrupting influence of pornographic films and literature. We should also guard against the taking of illicit drugs such as cocaine and Indian hemp, drunkenness, internet fraud and other forms of fraud that are destroying the nation. We should wage a campaign against permissiveness, casual sex and its attendant evils, for example, the termination of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including the incurable HIV-AIDS.

We should also be decent in our dressing and even in the type of movies that we watch and the type of music that we listen to. In all these areas, we must be the light of the world by avoiding all these things and setting a good example for others to follow.

Religion and Peace

At the dawn of a new year, I would like all of us to take our religion seriously. Whether we are Christians or Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists, Shintoists or practitioners of African Traditional Religion, let us apply the tenets of our religion to our daily lives so that we can lead morally good lives and be good citizens. Our religion should transform us and make us have an impact on our society. Our religion should transform us and make us have a good impact on our society. We should behave in such a way that we can say with St. Paul, ?? if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!? (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We also need to cultivate a spirit of forgiveness. We should avoid taking part in the widespread practice of invoking curses at shrines like that of Antoa in the Ashanti Region or of Nogokpo in the Volta Region to kill those who have wronged us. We must be prepared to forgive those who wrong us.

Priests, pastors and ministers should not take advantage of those who go to them with confidence in search of solutions to their spiritual and other problems. The attraction of money and other material benefits should not lead priests, pastors and ministers to distort the gospel of Jesus Christ and to exploit financially and sexually the vulnerable people who go to them seeking spiritual assistance.

Safety on our Roads

We will not have peace in our families when precious human lives are lost through road accidents. The major causes of accidents on our roads include the lack of maintenance of vehicles, fatigue driving, drunk driving, disregard for traffic regulations, improper use of roads by pedestrians and the use of mobile phones by people who are driving. The education on road safety is something that we should all take seriously. As a nation we should embark on a campaign to rid the nation of road accidents.

It is my prayer that Christ, the Prince of Peace, who brought joy during the first Christmas to Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the angels, will bring you joy and peace. It is also my prayer that the coming year will be filled with joy and peace for each and every one of you as you endeavour to serve God. May you forever share in the peace of Christ, the Prince of Peace.

On behalf of the Ghana Catholic Bishops? Conference, I wish you all a blessed New Year.

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