Tagle: the dream of a single human family beyond populisms

The danger of polarizing pressures and populisms in already divided societies was highlighted by Cardinal Tagle in his speech at the Lambeth Conference. Many topics were touched upon, starting with the immigration issue, with an invitation to rediscover the resource of the humble discovery of the other

Fausta Speranza – Vatican City

“It is sad to see how so-called populist demagogues use – or abuse – religion for their own interests, undermining efforts to develop relationships and form a human family.” These are the words of Cardinal Luis Antonio G. Tagle, who spoke today at the Lambeth conference in London. Yesterday Monsignor Anthony Currer, executive of the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, spoke on behalf of Cardinal Kurt Koch, who was absent for health reasons.

The First Epistle of Peter and the current challenges

“Peter’s First Epistle and the Decade That Followed” is the theme chosen this year for the assembly of all the bishops of the Anglican Communion. The Lambeth Conference is held every ten years in London at the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, by whom it is officially convened. Cardinal Tagle explained that he had oriented his reflection by questioning the text of Peter’s Epistle, imagining that it was addressed to the Church and the world today. And therefore he recalled such expressions as: strangers in the diaspora (1.1), foreigners and foreigners (2.11) once not a people but now God’s people (2.10), chosen lineage, royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s people (2 : 9), living stones built into a spiritual house in Jesus the living stone (2: 4-5).

Act as Christians

Cardinal Tagle focused on the invitation to act as Christians, underlining that in the Epistle of Peter we read: “They will not repay insult for insult (2:22) or evil for evil (3.8); they will be of one accord, with understanding, loving, compassionate, humble (3:8); they will be ready to give an explanation for the reason of their hope in the midst of persecutions and sufferings (3,15), namely the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1,3 Observing the their good works, their persecutors may hope to glorify God” (2:12).

The dream of a human family

“This house I dream for the Church, the human family and creation”, so the cardinal invited us “to purify the dream for us today”. First, he recalled that the Epistle is addressed to Christians in the diaspora where they were and made to feel alien and even exiled, and then stated that “sometimes we become so entrenched in our ways and plans that we begin to think for ourselves and behave as owners of land, peoples and ideas”. He recalled the expression of Pope Francis who “always speaks of an outgoing Church”, explaining that he imagines “a Church that is a spiritual residence precisely in its constant encounter with peoples in their different conditions of life”.

The displaced of today

A powerful thought for today’s displaced: Tagle remembers forced migrants, refugees, victims of human trafficking, slavery, prejudice, systematic persecution, wars and environmental disasters. “People who – he said – when they arrive in a new place, do not necessarily improve their situation. As foreigners, they are often shunned, marginalized and blamed for the evils of society.” So the question that the cardinal said to ask everyone: “As a Church and as humanity, how do we deal with millions of “homeless people”? Will they find hospitality and compassion?” The fundamental question – he underlined – is how we see and relate to the “other” or to those who are different from us. And all this “brings us once again to the question of diversity in the construction of our common home.”

Dangers to the “Spiritual Home”

Tagle explained that it must be recognized “with sadness” that “even within the Church, ethnic and cultural issues are destroying the spiritual house.” And in general he reminded that “the dream of a common human family is becoming difficult even for future generations due to traumatic memories caused by years of abandonment, violence and wars”.

The contemporary challenge of populism

The cardinal stressed that “building relationships faces a contemporary challenge in so-called ‘populism’.” He reminded that “Pope Francis considers the use of populism as a key to the interpretation of society problematic because it ignores the legitimate meaning of the word “people” (All brothers 157)”.

Pressure for polarization in already divided societies

In his speech, the cardinal concluded by recalling that social media has influenced everyday language by spreading this problematic use of the words “populism” and “populist”. As a result, he explained, “they lost any value they might have had and became another source of polarization in an already divided society.” According to Tagle, an attempt is made to label entire peoples, groups, societies and governments as “populist or not”. Hence the powerful call for reflection: “It is sad to note that so-called populist demagogues use (or abuse) religion for their own interests, undermining efforts to develop relationships and form a human family.”

Digital technology and generational leap

Nor can we ignore the intergenerational “otherness” experienced within the family, the cardinal later said, speaking of digital technology. In times of artificial intelligence, which tends to reshape or redefine human identity, human work and human relationships – he warned – the Epistle of Peter tells us “Come to Jesus, living stone” to become in him living stones of a spiritual house. of God. Hence the invitation to learn from Jesus what defines “cultural intelligence”.

The resource of humility

A belief: “Inviting people to walk and live together requires humility.” People – reminded Cardinal Tagle – are different not only for individual freedom, but also for culture, which for us is like second nature. We speak, behave, relate, eat, mourn and celebrate – he explained – according to our cultures.” And so he explained what exactly “cultural intelligence” should mean: “As I grow in the knowledge of how my culture has shaped me, I also try to understand how other people express their humanity in their cultures.” With a precise recommendation: “In the process all traces of superiority and cultural prejudice must be accepted and purged.” “It takes humility to admit that although I have no knowledge of many cultures, I may be ready to judge what is unknown to me.”

The role of religious leaders

The cardinal also suggested that “pastoral leaders develop their ability to appreciate other cultures not only through sociological studies but also through simple observation.” And he repeated a belief: “Cross-cultural travel together reduces each other’s fear. it allows cultures to refine and build upon each other.” Jesus, he said, was a person of his culture, but he also brought God’s “culture” to human cultures. “He was crucified outside the city walls. From his wounded side was born a house for foreigners and exiles. He wants His Body, the Church, to be that home. In him as a living stone, his disciples find hope and reason for joy.”

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