In the midst of the country’s economic difficulties, Mr. John Kofi Tandoh of KNUST Catholic Chaplaincy, Kumasi, has called for priests to be paid allowances sufficient to meet their needs and the administration of local parishes.
Mr. John Kofi Tandoh said “the priest’s monthly allowance should be a living one and must be realistic, looking at the economy. The presbytery, senate or consultors should find a way to dialogue with the Bishop on this issue. It should not be “we don’t have money”. It should be “we have to find money”.
Delivering his keynote speech at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests’ Associations (NUGCDPA) held at Centre for National Culture, Koforidua, Mr. Tandoh noted that priests deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place.
He based his comments on the (Code of Canon Law, 281.1) which advises that “Since clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need.”
In the current economic crunch, Mr. Tandoh observes that the disparity in the allowances paid to priests in the same diocese but serving in economically different locations and environments where “a number of our priests are located in parishes and rectorates and they are supported in various ways by the faithful, some are in various institutions (Church and public), where they earn salaries or allowances, while others are working in offices, where virtually nothing comes to them” is a source of great concern particularly for priests when it is time for them to prepare for retirement.
His observations are in line with those of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference who indicated they are aware of not only the present predicaments of an ailing and fragile economy of Ghana but are also aware of the increasing demands that this material world imposes on priests and bishops.
In dealing with the situation, Mr. Tandoh has advocated that “a pool scheme should be created to fund priests’ allowances. To him, the lay faithful should be encouraged to make contributions and special collections through their parishes, rectorates, and institutions into a common fund.”
This according to him will provide sufficient funds that can be used for the payment of the allowances of our priests. He also called for the establishment of a Ministries Appeal Fund, Priests’ Allowance Scheme, Priests’ Support Funds to help structure and ensure an equitable welfare of priests in the various dioceses in the country.
Mr. John Kofi Tandoh of KNUST Catholic Chaplaincy in Kumasi was the keynote speaker at the 28th National and 16th Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priests’ Associations (NUGCDPA) held on the theme “A Synodal Church and the Welfare of the Diocesan Priest in a Changing World.”