Archbishop Palmer-Buckle — Cultures of Life & Dignity
Archbishop of Accra, Ghana
Society must be seen preserving that weakest person’s dignity, upholding it, in the face of all the abuses, and be ready to defend that person, because by defending the weakest, society is defending itself.
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Archbishop Palmer-Buckle—Reconciliation Work in Ghana
Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle is the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, Ghana. He has worked to bring healing and reconciliation among the various tribes and ethnic groups in Ghana, emphasizing the role that Christianity can and should play in healing divisions among Christians. As he put in an October 14, 2009 interview with the National Catholic Reporter, if “you take the body and the blood of Christ, that blood of Christ running in your veins should influence your choice when it comes to ethnicity. It should influence a general brotherhood, because that blood is thicker than tribal blood.” From 2002 to 2004, at the request of the President of Ghana, he served as a member of the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) of Ghana.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle—Ghana to Rome and Back
Born June 15, 1950 in the Western Region of Ghana, Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle completed seminary training in philosophy and sacred theology at the Pontifical Urban College and University in Rome, and then returned to Ghana where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1976.
Palmer-Buckle later returned to Rome for post-graduate studies at the Pontifical Salesian University where he received a Doctorate Degree in Sacred Theology in 1984. He was then appointed Teacher and Chaplain of St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Accra and Diocesan Laity Chaplain.
The following year Palmer-Buckle was transferred to Achimota Secondary School as Catholic Chaplain and Teacher. He served there for seven years, when he also served as Priest in-charge of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Achimota, as President of the National Union of Catholic Diocesan Priests’ Associations (NUGDPA), and as Acting Editor of The Standard, Ghana’s national Catholic weekly.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle—Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Koforidua, Ghana
In 1993, Palmer-Buckle was ordained first Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Koforidua, newly carved out of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra. From 1994 to 2004 he served as the Bishop-Chairman for the Department of Socio-Economic Development of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference, and from 1995 to 2003 he served President of Caritas Africa Region and First Vice President of Caritas International, a federation headquartered in Vatican City with about 200 organizations in more than 150 countries around the globe.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle—From Bishop to Archbishop of Accra, Ghana
In November 2004, Bishop Palmer-Buckle was elected Vice President of Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and appointed the Bishop-Chairman of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Conference. In 2005, he was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.
International Cooperation for Africa
Humanity, as one of our great big personalities said, is like the keyboard, a musical keyboard: you cannot play alone with the white keys, nor can you play alone with the black keys, but with the black and the white keys, you can make perfect and beautiful harmony. So if South Africa made it, because it is black and white, that is what Africa can offer the world…. Self-reliance does not mean self-sufficiency; it means also being open to the gifts of others and being ready to give to others.
Defending a Culture of Life
We are saying that even the weakest person has a something, a dignity that must be preserved. Society must be seen preserving that weakest person’s dignity, upholding it, in the face of all the abuses, and be ready to defend that person, because by defending the weakest, society is defending itself. And the weakest is the embryo, the weakest is the unborn baby, the weakest is, you know, the sick, aged person in the hospital.
The Culture of Death as Slippery Slope
When society loses sight of the worth of its weakest person, then society has put itself in the total danger of what we call a cosmic suicide. We are heading towards that. And that is why I believe very strongly we should now start rethinking—go back to protecting the weakest—because all of us at one time or the other are going to be weaker. We’re going to be weaker in age; we’re going to be weaker in strength; we are going to be weaker in our minds; we are going to be weaker in our spirit; we are going to be weakened. If all we are saying is that when I get to that time, please get rid of me? I think that is a very dangerous weapon to put in the hands of society. And to legislate it, and to institutionalize it! And that is why some of us believe very strongly, this is the time, sorry to say, to fight against some of the values that are coming from the World Bank, from the IMF, from the UN. The language that is being used, you know, we are going to talk about it. Some of the language looks very innocuous, but in the final analysis, it is a new form of idolatry—worshipping myself because I’m healthy, worshipping myself because I’m powerful, worshipping myself because I can do it. Then when I get on the other side, and I cannot do it, then what do I say?
Resisting the Culture of Death
We in Africa are resisting … a certain philosophy, a certain cultural philosophy, which we think are contrary to what we believe in.… They force it down our governments through the IMF, the same culture. They force it down our governments through bilateral arrangements and agreements. They force it down our people through NGOs that come here … with a whole lot of philosophy underpinning it that goes contrary to whatever we believe in. They force it down our throats by offering medical facilities that only go contrary to the culture of life. They lead us into the culture of death.