Most Reverend Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle has been appointed by the Catholic Church as the new Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast.
This was contained in a release by His Excellency Most Rev. Jean Marie Speich, the Apostolic Nuncio.
The release said: “His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of His Grace Archbishop Mathias Nketsiah of Cape Coast”, hence the new appointment.
Apart from His Grace Archbishop Mathias Nketsiah reaching his mandatory retirement age of 75 years, his failing health also adds to the reasons for his resignation.
Under the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church, an Archbishop of an Archdiocese is supposed to resign at a certain age.
His Grace Archbishop Mathias Nketsiah is, however, eligible to be appointed to other higher positions in the church.
His successor, Most Reverend Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle, is 67 years. He is a former teacher and a key figure in the political scene in Ghana. He was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and is the second Ghanaian native to become Archbishop of Accra.
Installed in 2005, he became the 4th Ordinary for Accra since its establishment as a diocese. He was also the first Bishop of Koforidua.
He was educated at Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary in Ghana and at the Pontifical Urban University, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and another in Sacred Theology. He also holds a Doctorate Degree in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Salesian University in Rome.
He was ordained a priest on 12 December 1976 in Accra, appointed as Bishop of Koforidua on 6 July 1992, consecrated on 6 January 1993 and appointed as an Archbishop of Accra on 28 May 2005.
From 1994 to 2004 he served as the Bishop-Chairman for the Department of Socio-Economic Development of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Ghana, and from 1995 to 2003 was President of Caritas Africa Region and First Vice President of Caritas International, a federation of 198 member-organizations in 154 countries all over the world with headquarters in the Vatican City. He was appointed the first Bishop of the newly created diocese of Koforidua in 1992 and on 30 March 2005, he became the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.
He was a member of the nine-member National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) from May 2002 October 2004 whose stated mission was to bring truth and reconciliation in Ghana after human rights abuses and atrocities.
In 2002 he apologised on behalf of Africans for the part Africans played in the slave trade, and the apology was accepted by Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
He has remained vocal in the political scene of Ghana and Africa on issues including political violence and homosexuality.