Catholic Church shit-bombed Over Palmer-Buckle's Policies (Monday, May 3, 2010 Front Page)

MEMBERS of the Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church at Mamprobi in Accra yesterday received a rude shock when they turned up for worship only to find the sanctity of their church desecrated with human excreta and offensive posters by unknown persons.
The act was said to have been carried out at 3 a.m. in protest against some policies and demands of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, the Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle, who was expected at the church for a confirmation service.
The first church service, which was to begin at 7 a.m., was delayed, as the members had to wait for the mess and the strong stench which filled the air to be cleansed. The service eventually took place without any incident.
When the area was tidied up, normal service was held and Archbishop Palmer-Buckle was on hand for the confirmation which was done during the second service.
In his sermon, the Archbishop made a brief reference to the incident and promised that the issue would be dealt with by the Parish Pastoral Council.
Some of the inscriptions on the walls of the church had read, "Your Grace, your transfer to Accra is the greatest mistake of the faithful in Accra", "Palmer-Buckle, if you want more money, then (sic) sell your $2,000,000 Trassaco Mansion. Oooh! Wa na money", "Palmer-Buckle, You are here at your own risk - Persona Non Grata", "Our Parish was far better before Ashitei Rasta came in. But today we are worse off", "Papa Ajasco (JB) and Awilo Shar-Sharp (Matthew) must go", "If grey hair shows wisdom, there would not be CIBT (Tantra Hill)", and "Your CIBT was/is a waste of our widow's might".
The CIBT refers to the Catholic Institute of Business and Technology at Tantra Hill which some church members have cited as a waste of the church’s funds.
Police officers armed with batons were seen patrolling the church premises and one of them who spoke to the Daily Graphic said they had been detailed to keep peace and order because of what had happened earlier in the day.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the church’s security man, who gave his name as Baba, said he had heard some noise at the main entrance, only to realise that the gate had been locked with a padlock from outside, with the place smelling of human excreta when he arrived at the gate.
"When I moved to the next gate to check on it and inform the parish priest, I realised that the entrance to the auditorium had also been smeared with faeces," Baba said.
He said he informed the Parish Priest, Rev Fr John Ashitei Boye, who directed him to break the lock, adding, "I had to jump over the wall to do that."
Daily Graphic enquiries indicated that the root of the present crisis was traceable to a letter from the Archbishop, dated March 17, 2010, to the parishes, quasi-parishes and rectorate to contribute towards a development fund for the church.
The letter, with the heading, "Contribution towards development fund", read, "The setting up of this fund, which is in line with the Ten-year Pastoral and Strategic Development Plan for the Archdiocese (cf. Chapter Seven of the Acts of the Second Synod), calls for the collective contributions of parishes, quasi-parishes and rectorate.”
"I would be most grateful if you could take immediate steps and pay at least a greater part of your contribution to the Archdiocesean Financial Administrator by the end of this month," it said.
Sources at the church said the parishioners had complained about the amount to be paid (GH¢50,000) and the deadline set for it.
They said the problem was compounded by the fact that Archbishop Palmer-Buckle had put on hold the plans of the parish to renovate and redesign the church, even though the parishioners had made contributions for that purpose.
Secondly, a building the church put up for a senior high school was being taken over by the Catholic Social Advance Institute on the orders of the Archbishop.
The sources indicated that the problem had created tension in the Archdiocese, citing the St John the Evangelist Church at Adenta as an example of a parish that had requested a loan to support it in the construction of its church but which was turned down by the Archbishop who, instead, asked the St John Church to pay GH¢15,000.
Some of the parishioners who spoke to the Daily Graphic said even though they were not in support of some of the actions of the Archbishop concerning developments in the church, "the behaviour of the shit bombers was uncalled for and irresponsible".
The Secretary to the Parish Pastoral Council, Mr Stephen Avornyo, told the Daily Graphic that he had not got any signal that there was a discord among any group of people in the church to warrant what happened.
He said the incident would be investigated and dealt with in a manner that would promote peace and unity in the church.
The Parish Priest, Rev Father Boye, in a message to the church, bemoaned the action, describing it as sad.
"Is this the best way to solve problems as Christians? Throughout the month of May let us go on our knees and pray for our parish," he said.
Rev Boye, however, declined to speak on the issue when he was contacted by the Daily Graphic.


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