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Monday, 29 November 1976


Mr Ambassador,

it is our pleasure to welcome you as Ghana’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Holy See, and to receive the Letters by which His Excellency General I. K. Acheampong, Head of State and Chairman of the Supreme Military Council, accredits you to this post.

Your address reflects the atmosphere of cordial relations existing between Ghana and the Holy See, and we are thankful for the appreciative manner in which you have spoken of the Church’s contribution to development in your country, as well as of our own contribution in the struggle to promote justice and peace throughout the world. We are glad of this occasion to express the high appreciation which the Church has for the people of Ghana and their traditions. Indeed our personal love and esteem for your country and for your people is nourished also by the memories we cherish of our visit to Ghana in 1962 as Archbishop of Milan.

The Church is charged with a message of spiritual salvation for mankind, but at the same time she must also proclaim and advance man’s temporal liberation from all that hampers his true dignity and growth, whenever she can do so. You have singled out for special mention the contribution of Catholic missionaries in Ghana to the nation’s programme of education. Since, as we have said before, “basic education is the primary object of any plan of development” (Populorum Progressio, 35: AAS 59 (1967) 274), we cannot but pledge the Church’s commitment to offer whatever assistance she can in this noble and arduous task.

Your Excellency has likewise alluded to the problems of peace on the African continent and expressed concern for the inseparable relation which they bear to peace throughout the world. Here again we would repeat that the very nature of the Church’s message and mission imposes upon her the duty of pursuing peace through justice. As we stated in a recent Exhortation: “The Church considers it to be undoubtedly important to build up structures which are more human, more just, more respectful of the rights of the person and less oppressive and less enslaving . . .” (PAULI PP. VI Evangelii Nuntiandi, 36). Animated therefore by a common love for all the peoples of Africa, may your country and the Holy See work together in the ways open to us for integral development, greater justice and lasting peace.

To this hope, we add our sincere good wishes also for the happy fulfilment of Your Excellency’s mission, invoking upon the authorities and people of Ghana an abundance of God’s blessings.

*AAS 68 (1976), p.727-728.

Insegnamenti di Paolo VI, vol. XIV, p.989-990.

L’Attività della Santa Sede 1976, p.333-334.

L'Osservatore Romano 29-30.11.1976, p.1.

ORa n.50 p.4.

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