Hope in Tagle-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
POPE Benedict XVI has appointed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle to the College of Cardinals. On November 24, Tagle will take his place as the second youngest cardinal in the world and the 7th cardinal in the Catholic Church’s history in the country.
The 55-year old Tagle is a Vatican star whose feet, according to those who know him, are firmly planted on the ground. He is said to be tight with the pontiff with whom he has worked with and who, in fact, also mentored him during his doctoral studies in theology. Tagle, described as highly intelligent but self-effacing, is seen by some as a future papal contender.
Tagle says the appointment consoles and terrifies him. Such a humble admission gives us a window of the kind of man Tagle might be. He speaks of the need for a quieter and humbler church, a church that should sit in solidarity with the suffering instead of pretending to know all the solutions. The Church, he says, must not act like a triumphalistic, know-it-all institution.
I welcome the appointment of Tagle. For even as the distance between me and my church grows wider each year, I cling to the hope that in my lifetime, I will see the Catholic Church evolve into a more relevant and compassionate church, a less rigid and arrogant church.
I agree with Tagle. What the Church needs today is humility. Dogma is dying. And yet the hierarchy clings to it, not out of principle but pride. Do they really cling to dogma because they believe they are right? Or because they must do everything they can to prevent their own demise?
The era of cookie-cutter Catholics has come and gone. Dogma no longer unites. Today, it divides. Groupthink is no longer a virtue but a vice. What is it that the Catholic Church wishes to build? A cult? Or a community?
Communities are no longer bound by a set of mandatory beliefs. That’s an archaic concept. Today, communities are bound by a shared respect for diversity. Only cults demand conformity. Communities embrace diversity.
Being a Catholic should not be about being bullied into subscribing to a set of beliefs. It should be about being given the freedom to struggle each day to make difficult decisions, to ask questions about nagging doubts, to make mistakes and learn from them. Being a Catholic should not be about doctrinal obedience. It should be about living each day according to one’s conscience.
Did Jesus enforce a set of beliefs? No. He showed us how to live. Religion is not about belief. It is about faith. It is about a faith we hold in our hearts that we can find the humanity in each of us and prevail against the odds to live lives in pursuit of truth, justice and love.
Jesus lived a life of service, sacrifice and selflessness. This is what Christianity is about. Authentic religion is lived, not enforced. Doctrines are guide posts. They are not the truth, the way and the light.
I cling to the hope that Tagle has the courage to depart from orthodoxy, the temerity to stand up for the truth and the grace to disobey the hierarchy and answer to the Higher Calling.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 28, 2012.