Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Timely Words from Future Cardinal Chito

Among his many credentials and achievements, Luis Antonio “Chito” G. Tagle, was a member of the International Theological Commission (Vatican City) prior to his ordination as bishop of the Diocese of Imus. He was here in our diocese some years back to ordain two diocesan priests, his former students as seminarians, and in his homily he constantly reminded the candidates of “pagpapakababa” (humility) and “pagpapakumbaba” (humbleness). The San Jose Cathedral was filled with laughter for reason that I prefer to keep to myself. Now, I had mixed feelings of laughter and pain whenever the anecdote crosses my mind. One thing is certain, Cardinal Chito, wherever he addresses the public he continues to bring light lightly.

Manila Archbishop Chito Tagle formally took over his archdiocese during solemn installation rites at the Manila Cathedral yesterday morning attended by more than 1,500 priests, religious men and women, and lay faithful from his previous diocese.

In his speech entitled “Priestly Communion” delivered during the National Congress of the Clergy held at the World Trade Center in Metro Manila last July 5 to 9, 2004, the prelate emphasized that, “A priest exercises his authority effectively when he finds, especially in difficult times, what the Church holds in common and lives by them…. He searches for what he holds in common even with his enemies, those who want to exclude him and whom who might want to exclude him in turn.” True enough, with constant rediscovery and rooting of a precarious bond among the priests would lead to dialogue, discernment and unity. He said that the practice of consultation and dialogue with other gifted people are to be intensified. We do not need a dynamic and intelligent bishop like Cardinal Tagle to understand that what we currently need as a local Church is the constant and intensification of consultation and dialogue among the clergy. All of us, friends and foes alike surely have things in common, and he jokingly added, “Ah, there they have something in common – they dislike each other!”

If you would ask me what would be the local realities to achieve unity and communion in my workplace and my diocese, I’ll just borrow in verbatim the words of Bishop Tagle: “A priest of communion cries with others until their common tears become the Church’s lamentation. He smiles with others until their common smile becomes the Church’s ode to joy. He is frightened with others until their common fear becomes humanities longing for trusts. He is poor with others until their common poverty becomes the world’s cry for justice. He loves with others until their common love becomes creation’s paradise. He is with others in order to be for them. And by being for them, he becomes more with them. And the Church becomes more what is meant to be.”

By actively doing her usual advocacy works and charitable programs within her ecclesiastical territory, we locate the Church where she belongs, not in the four-corners of our offices but in faith communities...

(Photo from Rafael Alfonso's Paintings)

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