President Nana Akufo-Addo has said there will never be an “appropriate time” to construct a national cathedral if the nation wants to satisfy all major development needs before embarking on such a project.
According to Mr Akufo-Addo, the great cathedrals in the world were constructed when projects like schools, hospitals, and roads were not fully provided.
Some critics have kicked against the state funding the construction of a national cathedral, as they believe it was the President’s personal pledge to God.
Critics of the cathedral believe there are important development needs that must be prioritised instead of sinking millions of taxpayers’ money into the construction of a national cathedral.
Reacting to the critics, Nana Akufo-Addo, while addressing some Catholic Bishops at the 19th plenary assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, at Christ the King Church, in Accra, on Tuesday, 26 July 2022, maintained that the Cathedral must be built.
He said: “My personal view has always been that, even though the Cathedral will be very much a national institution, the cost should be largely borne by the Christian community, with the state providing the land and initial funding to get the project off the ground”.
“Looking through the history of all the great cathedrals of the world, there has never been, what can be called, ‘an appropriate time’ to build a cathedral”.
“Invariably, it has taken many years, sometimes, centuries, to complete. The National Cathedral in Washington DC took 83 years to complete; it took 150 years to build St Peter’s Basilica in Rome; it took 182 years to finish the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.”
He stressed: “When these great cathedrals were built, the societies that house them had not finished with the satisfaction of their major ‘development’ needs – hospitals, schools, bridges, roads, homes needed to be built, and, I daresay, if one were to consider only those needs, there would never be a good time to build a Church, a Cathedral or any of the great buildings of faith around the world”.
“But, once they are built, they have proven to be instruments that brought people together and deepened the spiritual and emotional experiences of people. I am fortified by the words of Holy Scripture, in Ecclesiastes chapter eleven, verse four, which says: ‘If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never sow anything and never harvest anything'”.
“I do not envisage that this project will take a century to complete like the great historical cathedrals of the world. Technology has transformed building methods dramatically, and I am certain that if the Christian community accepts the challenge, we shall construct this cathedral and quickly. Once completed, its value will be obvious to all.
“Let us build our National Cathedral to be the epicentre of our lives, the place for our great celebrations, our thanksgiving, our funerals, the place for great moments of silence and introspection, the place that symbolises the place of faith in our national psyche”.
“I give my personal undertaking that the funds raised for the building of the National Cathedral will be treated with the sacred trust that they deserve, with transparency and accountability,” Nana Akufo-Addo added.