There will never be a “suitable time” to build a national cathedral, according to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, if the country wishes to first address all pressing development demands.
The biggest cathedrals ever built, in Mr. Akufo-opinion, Addo’s were built during periods of incomplete funding for initiatives like schools, hospitals, and roads.
As they consider it to be the President’s private promise to God, some detractors have railed against the government supporting the building of a national cathedral.
Critics of the cathedral contend that rather than investing millions of dollars in the construction of a national cathedral, there are more pressing development requirements that should take priority.
In response to the critics, Nana Akufo-Addo insisted that the Cathedral must be erected while addressing some Catholic Bishops during the 19th plenary conference of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, at Christ the King Church in Accra.
“My own position has always been that the expense should be mostly paid by the Christian community, with the state giving the land and initial funds to get the project off the ground, even though the Cathedral will be very much a national institution,” he said.
“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 emphasized: “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. The societies that house them had not finished with the satisfaction of their major ‘development’ needs. Hospitals, schools, bridges, roads, and homes needed to be built.
“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 enhanced.