Focus on forming the moral consciousness of Catholic Teachers- Archbishop Palmer-Buckle

Cape Coast ( C/R) July 4, Actnews- Focus on forming the moral consciousness of Catholic Teachers- Archbishop Palmer-Buckel  

Most Rev. Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast has charged the executives of the Association of Catholic Teachers (ACT) in his archdiocese to focus on helping to form moral consciousness of their members to help fight the immorality in the society.

He made the call when the executives of the association paid a curtsey call on him at his office recently.

Read the full report by  Kobina Asmah (kobinaasmah@gmail.com)

(Cape Coast Archdiocesan ACT President)

REPORT ON INTERACTION BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF ACT AND THE ARCHBISHOP, GABRIEL PALMER-BUCKEL ON TUESDAY 30TH OF JUNE, DURING THE DONATION TO THE COVID–19 FUND AT THE ARCHDIOCESAN SECRETARIAT, CAPE COAST.

On Tuesday, 30th June, 2020, four of the executive members of ACT, accompanied by their spiritual director, Rev. Fr. Patrick Appiah and the Regional Manager of Catholic schools Madam Rose Johnson, made a cash donation to the Archdiocesan COVID-19 fund at the Catholic Secretariat, Cape Coast.  The group was warmly welcomed by His Grace, the Archbishop of Cape Coast. The Prelate was very happy with the group and was grateful for the donation. He took the opportunity to share with members some few thoughts. In his usual direct, frank and straightforward manner of speech, he shared with the group his thought on how the Association of Catholic Teachers should be and charged us to wake up to our calling. Below are four of the many points he raised in the thirty minute interaction he had with the group at the conference room of the Catholic secretariat.  

The first was the need to develop what he termed as ‘Catholic consciousnesses of the Catholic teacher. He observed that there exist many people who exhibit anti-Catholic sentiments in the GES and may oppose anything that an association like ours may stand for. In his opinion, most of such people normally do not share in the moral position of the church on a number of issues. A case in point he cited is such moral position in the situation where teachers may want to go on strike for non-payment of allowance.  Assuming teachers go on strike for such a reason, and then the government pays the allowance later on, how then do teachers’ pay the children the lost time lost? He asked.  So eventually the children and not the government become the victim of such strike action, he pointed out.  He however cautioned ACT not to be surprised to see that many of those who may strongly oppose the association are Catholics. He also decried the laxity shown by catholic teachers towards issues of the church. He therefore encouraged ACT to be firm in its resolve to use such an association to awaken the Catholic consciousness of the Catholic teacher.

The second was a challenge to awaken the moral consciousness of both teachers and parents towards the children and the society. Our society in recent times has a huge moral deficit, he stated. Briefly reflecting on the situation of George Floyd in America, he observed that America has long been morally bankrupt because even though their motto is ‘in God we Trust’, they actually trusted in power, money and science. He recalled the struggle of the church to see the inclusion of Religious and Moral Education (RME) in the school syllabus in Ghana and stated that the promotion of Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (STEM) must not be done at the expense of the humanities because it is the humanities that make a human being.  He couldn’t imagine how dangerous a number of professionals could be without morals. A typical example, he said, is a well-trained intelligent surgeon who has no morals.  He described such a person as a ‘skilled butcher’.  Engineers, lawyers, teachers are worth their salt only when their practice is built on sound moral values, he stressed.  He observed that teachings on sound moral values can only be given by faith based organizations such as ACT and not by Ghana Association of Science teachers (GAST), Association of Mathematics Teachers or any other academic or social groupings, he added. It is in that light that, he said, ACT becomes very relevance.

The third was the need for teachers to show leadership wherever they find themselves.  On a lighter note, he said there exist some teachers who do not qualify to be teachers as well as parents who do not qualify to be parents.  To him most teachers entered the profession because that was the only thing left for them to do and not that they desire to be teachers. Such teachers lack the sense of responsibility and do not appreciate the fact that children mirror whatever is done to them. He couldn’t imagine a situation where a teacher gets to the classroom and seeing the students in disarray, starts yelling at them. He noted that “if you as a teacher yells at the students, they will yell back at you”, he therefore stressed that members of ACT become gentle with the students and that they (students) will learn to do the same.  He said it is in such confusion that the teacher must show leadership by being a good example. He added that teachers and parents must show leadership in a confused society by being good examples, speaking up when they should and not being silent for others to lead only to ‘wake up’ later and ask how this/that person became their leader, he cautioned.

The fourth point captured was his concern for the use of the social media platforms. He described the social media as an effective tool that can help organise the association. He for instance asked that ACT use it to stay in touch and cautioned members to ensure proper management of the page. He advised that it should be managed well so that it could be a platform for forming the catholic teacher. He jokingly described how effective he had been using the ‘clear chart button’ to get rid of information that he considered less important.

Before he ended, the Archbishop informed the Executive that in June 2021, there would be a second archdiocesan synod. Major among the issues to be discussed is Catholic Education and ACT would be officially invited to participate. He requested for a memoir on ACT stating the number of groups, memberships and activities so far. When questions were invited, the ACT president requested the archbishop to fix a day on his itinerary for what he termed as ‘ACT DAY WITH THE BISHOP’ for interaction.  The Regional Manager on her part remarked that the group will not hesitate to come to the bishop for directions anytime the need arises.  In a quick response, the archbishop said, he believes in the principle of subsidiarity hence questions must first be passed through the spiritual director. The spiritual director, Rev. Father Patrick Appiah pointed out the difference between the old Teachers guild which consisted of only teachers from the SHS and ACT which is open to all teachers at all levels of education sector who are Catholics. He therefore described ACT as a beautiful organisation. He promised the Archbishop of the growth of ACT and adherence to all the advice given. The secretary, Mr Appiah Sam on behalf of the delegation showed his appreciation to the archbishop for his time and promised that ACT will do all that had been said. The group then went outside the conference room for the official presentation where photographs were taken. The cash donation was received on behalf of the secretariat by Rev. Fr.  Stephen Amoah-Gyasi, Archdiocesan director for Caritas/ Development. 

Remarks

The delegation went with cash but received words of life from the archbishop.  We presented to him our gifts of money to help fight Corona virus disease 2019.  He however presented to us the sword of the spirit to fight all spiritual viruses of all times. Oh that we may find strength to use this. Pray for us Mother Mary, Queen of the Apostles and Seat of Wisdom.

Thank you.

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