Cardinal Tagle Urges Church to Healing Action
Deacons Must Heal Wounds
The Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (Manila) advocated in favour of a serving and healing Church, before deacons from five continents. Service to the poor, sick and marginalized is by no means optional for the Church, the Cardinal stated at the Study Conference of the International Diaconate Centre (IDC). The service to the world community must derive from the mission entrusted by Jesus Christ, who went to the very extreme of dedication to humankind “To serve people means to bend, not to be exalted.”
Tagle, who is also President of Caritas Internationalis, stated that a basic attitude of service is expected of all baptised Christians. Deacons especially, but also all clerics should serve the community and, as disciples of Christ, heal the wounds inflicted on various relationships. The Archbishop of Manila recommended “a basin of water and a towel” as gifts for a bishop’s consecration, so as to remind candidates of the task given by Jesus: to bend and wash the feet of the poor, the sick and the marginalized.
The Cardinal described a generalized individualism as the cause of a dwindling humaneness and gave several examples: racism, xenophobia, ethnic and religious discrimination. “Individualism is one of the reasons for which human beings fall out of sight”. Such marginalization and alienation hurts the communion among human beings and needs to be healed. This also refers to the world economy, Tagle stressed. The world’s wealth is gathered very rapidly into less and less hands, whilst the majority of people have to live in poverty. “What kind of growth is this?” the Cardinal asked, “or is it just legitimized injustice?”
Tagle urged in favour of a new “culture of encounter”, in which the marginalized are not lost from sight and their wounds are touched. With regard to those who suffer, the impulse could be the sentence “They could be my parents, my siblings or my friends”. This, according to the Cardinal, must not mean some care coming from above, but rather solidarity between sisters and brothers. It also doesn’t mean a relationship of give and take. “The poor can teach us what is lacking in the dominating system”
Uwe Renz, Diocese Rottenburg-Stuttgart / Germany