According to Canon Law [Can. 401 §1.] of the Catholic Church, a “Diocesan Bishop who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provision after he has examined all the circumstances.”
This means that a Diocese or Archdiocese becomes eligible for the appointment of a new Bishop when the occupying Bishop reaches the age of 75 years.
Presently, there are twenty-one (21) bishops/archbishops; consisting of four archbishops; Most Rev. Philip Naameh (Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale), Most Rev. Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle (Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast), Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye(Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi), and Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp. (Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra).
The other Bishops include; Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi (Bishop of Sunyani Diocese and President of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference), Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu SVD(Bishop of Ho Diocese and Vice president of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference), Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta (Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese), Most Rev. Matthew Yitiereh (Bishop of Yendi Diocese), Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuomeh Angkyier (Bishop of Damongo Diocese), Most Rev. Peter Kwaku Atuahene (Bishop of Goaso Diocese),
Most Rev. Dominic Yeboah Nyarko (Bishop of Techiman Diocese), Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu (Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese), Most Rev. John Yaw Afoakwa (Bishop of Obuasi Diocese), Most Rev. Joseph Francis Kwaku Essien (Bishop of Wiawso Diocese), Most Rev. Joseph Kwaku Afrifa Agyekum (Bishop of Koforidua Diocese and Vice president of RECOWA), Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante(Bishop of Jasikan Diocese), Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji SVD (Bishop of Keta-Akatsi Diocese) and Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh (Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese) and Most Rev. John Alphonse Asiedu SVD who is the Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Donkorkrom, the only Vicariate in the country.
The oldest crop of Bishops/Archbishops who have served the church dutifully and nearing their period of retirement are Most Rev. Philip Naameh of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale (He will be 75 years in September 2023) Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese ( He will be 75 years in February 2023) and Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante, Bishop of Jasikan Diocese (He will be 76 years old in July 2023)
Aside from the above and per the age rules, another Bishop who is due for retirement is Most Rev. Joseph Francis Kwaku Essien, the Bishop of Wiawso Diocese, who turns 78 years this year.
It must be carefully noted that all bishops offer to resign at age 75 as stipulated by the Canon Law. However, he may request to have his resignation accepted before that age if he feels he is unable to continue in his ministry due to ill health or other reasons.
Whether or not to accept a resignation lies with the Pope. If the Pope believes that a Bishop is still able to carry out his duties effectively, he may choose to keep him in place beyond the age of 75. However, if the bishop is no longer able to perform his duties adequately, the Pope will typically accept his resignation and appoint a successor.
In the case of the former, one may see a bishop serve well beyond his 75th birthday, in which case their retirement age may be extended by up to five years by a Holy See approval.
Per the observations of the ages of the bishops, some, if not all may have Pope Francis accepting their resignation and appointing their successors in the course of the year. This may involve Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante and Most Rev. Joseph Francis Kwaku Essien.
Aside from these retirements, the Catholic Diocese of Wa has a vacant seat following the demise of its Bishop, the Late Richard Cardinal Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr, M. Afr.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Accra is also likely to get an Auxiliary Bishop who would support with the pastoral care of the archdiocese due to the health condition of the Archbishop, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp.
The Chief Shepherd, on Thursday, June 10, 2021, returned to Ghana after a medical checkup in India.
Since then, it was expected by many that he either get relieved of his duties on health grounds or given assistance by way of appointing Auxilary Bishop(s).
Can. 403 §1. states that “When the pastoral needs of a diocese suggest it, one or more auxiliary bishops are to be appointed at the request of the diocesan bishop. An Auxiliary Bishop does not possess the right of succession.”
Sub section §2. notes that “In more serious circumstances, even of a personal nature, an auxiliary bishop provided with special faculties can be given to a diocesan bishop.”
An Auxiliary Bishop is deputed to a Diocesan Bishop who, capable of governing and administering his diocese, is unable to perform the pontifical functions; or whose diocese is so extensive that it requires the labours of more than one; or whose episcopal see has attached to it a royal or imperial office requiring protracted presence at court.