Catholics bring the vision of the Second Vatican Council to the world, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has said.
Speaking to an audience at The Catholic University of America, the Filipino cardinal said that listening to people’s suffering, joys and daily endeavours demonstrates the Church’s values of the dignity of every person, especially the poor. He said the Catholics Church welcomes encounters with the world without fear, as expressed in “Gaudium et Spes,” the final document of Vatican II, released nearly 50 years ago in December 1965.
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Cardinal Tagle said in delivering the annual Cardinal Dearden Lecture on Monday in Washington. There he said he 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 and behind-the-scenes occurrences from Pope Francis’s visit to the Philippines in January, Cardinal Tagle described a Church that could carry out its mission of bringing good news to a troubled world.
When “Gaudium et Spes” was issued, Cardinal Tagle said, many Catholics wondered why the Church wanted to engage the world and 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 sign of respect for their dignity, he said.
“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 evangelise. 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 practice different religious traditions, and in neighborhoods, the workplace, politics, and Christian and non-Christian religious communities.
He added that in the years after “Gaudium et Spes” was promulgated, Catholic bishops in Asia began to meet regularly, leading to the formation of the Federation of Asian Catholic Bishops in the early 1970s.
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