Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for a Church that works together during a talk before a global gathering of Anglican Church leaders in the United Kingdom on Saturday, August 6.
The Filipino cardinal talked about “walking, listening and witnessing together” in his address titled “The Church of 1 Peter for the Decade Ahead” at the Lambeth Conference.
The conference has been taking place every ten years since 1867 and marks a key moment for discussions about the Church, world affairs, and the global mission of the Anglican Communion.
This year’s gathering, which is convened by Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, takes place at the University of Kent from July 26 to August 8.
In his talk, Cardinal Tagle, pro-prefect at the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization, spoke of how the Letter of First Peter encourages Christians to remain faithful and together continue to be loving, compassionate, and humble despite the risk of persecution and suffering.
A report on Vatican News quoted the cardinal saying that he dreams of “this reality, this home for the Church today, united as a human family and together with creation, encouraging everyone to dream together to allow the Lord to create this home for the Church.”
Cardinal Tagle observed that the Letter of First Peter is addressed to Christians in the diaspora “who were made to feel like strangers or exiles.”
He said everyone is called to be “a Church that goes forth and reaches out to others, a Church that is a spiritual home with peoples of diverse backgrounds and cultures through its encounters.”
Echoing Pope Francis’ statements on migrants, refugees, victims of war, human trafficking and forced labor, Cardinal Tagle said they are the “new strangers in our midst” who are “often marginalized” and “are scapegoated for today’s problems.”
The cardinal said the Letter of First Peter asks everyone, especially members of the Church, to treat the millions of “homeless” people with compassion and hospitality, which he said are “part of the Christian vocation.”
Cardinal Tagle lamented that even within the Church “we have allowed ethnic and cultural divisions to ruin our spiritual home, making the dream of a common human family ever more elusive for future generations due to our neglect and succumbing to violence and war.”
He said “populism” has played a role, resulting in the “disregard for people” through “deepening polarization in already divided societies, by categorizing entire peoples, groups and societies, especially on social media.”
The Filipino Church leader said culture or religion should not be used for partisan interests “that undermine efforts at fostering positive relationships and creating a human family marked by respect and fraternity.”
He said the invitation to walk and live together requires humility, adding that “our diversity comes from our culture of origin and not only individual freedom and choices.”
“Church pastoral leadership needs to better develop its own “cultural intelligence” by first reflecting upon our own backgrounds and then by putting ourselves in the shoes of others who express their humanity based on their own cultural backgrounds,” the cardinal said.
He said that by doing so, everyone can do away with traces of cultural superiority and prejudice.
“We can learn from each other greatly by humbly observing one another and learning to appreciate other experiences and cultures that make us who we are,” he said.
Cardinal Tagle cited Gospel accounts of how much Jesus suffered for his openness and compassion for outsiders, strangers, and public sinners.