Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle says the Church must bring good news to a troubled world.

CNS PHOTO | ED PFUELLER, THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle says the Church must bring good news to a troubled world.

March 9, 2015
DENNIS SADOWSKI
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

By listening to people's suffering, joys and daily endeavours, Catholics bring the vision of the Second Vatican Council to the world, said Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines.

Such action shows that the Church values the dignity of every person, especially the poor, and that it welcomes encounters with the world without fear, Tagle told an audience at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Tagle's March 2 talk focused on the final document of Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

The document, whose Latin title means "joy and hope," was intended to lay out the Church's relationship to a rapidly changing society.

Mixing the message of Gaudium et Spes with personal stories of his encounters with people living their faith, Tagle described a Church that could carry out its mission of bringing good news to a troubled world.

When Gaudium et Spes was promulgated, Tagle said, many Catholics wondered whether the Church had any business being concerned with political and economic issues and peacemaking.

The council's intention was to come in contact with people of all walks of life as a sign of respect for their dignity, he said.

HUMAN DIGNITY

"Through Gaudium et Spes, the council manifests the Church's amazement at the value and dignity of every human being. Gaudium et Spes, from one perspective could be considered an ode of the Church to the beauty, the value of human person," he said.

"The council was very clear that it presents this teaching for no other reason than to evangelize. There is mission involved here," the cardinal continued.

"It is to share the good news. It is not so much to present a parallel government, a parallel economic system. It presents valuable insight coming from revelation and presents modest contribution to humanity as it searches for a better life, a better world."

In demonstrating that love, he explained, the Church is called to engage with people where they are life: in families, including those where spouses practise different religious traditions, and in neighbourhoods, the workplace, politics, and Christian and non-Christian religious communities.

AGENTS OF RECONCILIATION

"We can start building a presence and become agents of reconciliation."

Tagle said that in the years after Gaudium et Spes, Catholic bishops in Asia began to meet regularly, leading to the formation of the Federation of Asian Catholic Bishops in the early 1970s.

The bishops recognized the number of Catholics in Asia was small – around three per cent – and that necessitated respecting the various cultures that make up the world's largest continent.

The federation recognized that even if the Church is a "tiny minority," it could not abandon its mission of evangelization, he said.

It carried out that mission by listening, especially to the poor and to young people, and by respecting the values of the ancient Asian cultures, Tagle said.

"It's part of the mission of the Church in Asia to show the richness of the Gospel and its universal values of truth, values open to all human beings."

The cardinal cited the actions of Pope Francis during his visit to the Philippines that demonstrated how Gaudium et Spes can be lived out.

STREET CHILDREN

The pope modelled the Vatican II document through encounters with others when he blessed disabled people, visited street children living in an orphanage and listened to the stories of the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, he said.

"He was not just a teacher. He was a listener.

"We are called to be in solidarity with the suffering and the poor. An evangelizing moment comes when you encounter people, real people."