Cardinal Chito Tagle reflects on faith lessons while under lockdown in Italy

HSBC Philippines
Cardinal Tagle faith lessons
Cardinal Luis Antonio “Chito” Tagle is now in the Vatican as the leader of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP). Photo from CBCP News.

Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle shared faith lessons while under lockdown in Italy as he goes into the third month of his new Vatican post as the prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP).

Cardinal Tagle has been working as the Vatican’s CEP Prefect while under Italy’s quarantine in Rome’s Pontifical Filipino College amongst colleagues and peers. Between managing his work, routine, and online masses, he had reflected on his and the world’s situation.

The Filipino Cardinal’s reflections, shared on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website in early April, concerned the use of the internet, social distancing, good habits, prayer and humility, and the emergence of the new poor amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coming to Rome for a universal mission at a time when the lockdown occurs — I am still in awe at the surprises of God,” the Cardinal said.

Cardinal Tagle highlights the role of family and small gatherings amidst the pandemic to point out how the world and the practice of religion adapted to the requirements of quarantine and the newfound importance in faith in this global health crisis.

In a world practicing social distancing and a pause on gatherings, he comments, “I am fascinated with the renewed appreciation of the role of families, schools, and small communities in evangelization.”

“We might get used to physical distancing and lose the social or humanitarian reason for it. We should be cautious that the lockdown, quarantine and distancing not develop into a culture of isolation, indifference and prejudice,” Cardinal Tagle adds.

The flexibility of our society was one of his takeaways from this pandemic, and how we must keep the lessons we learned to heart. He spoke of how the world is changing under the pandemic, be it the calming of the changing climate due to our new “good habits”, or the retainment of humanity and progress over the Internet.

“Ironically, (measures to contain the coronavirus have) made the air purer, the skies bluer, our hands cleaner, our streets and homes ‘safer.’ A deadly virus has made us behave more responsibly toward ourselves, family, community and creation. I hope when the virus is gone, our good habits would continue,” the Vatican official states.

What’s more, Cardinal Chito Tagle reminds people to learn compassion and humility. As he fears how social distancing might lead to the propagation of indifference and loss of humanity, he reminds people to retain humanity during and even after the crisis. He emphasizes this when he mentions the projected growth of poverty due to the heavy-hitting pandemic.

“We should prepare now to assist the new poor in order to avoid forms of exploitation and violence. The outpouring of compassion that we have seen so far needs to be encouraged into the post-pandemic future,” Cardinal Chito Tagle shares.

Cardinal Chito Tagle also highlights the renewed value placed on faith and prayer even with the churches closed.

“A virus mirrored to us our fragility, limitations and insufficiency. This is quite humiliating for a people gone mad with pride and self-adulation. But the memory of the virus must be kept alive to keep us humble and hopeful,” the Cardinal said.

SHARE with us in the comments below your thoughts on Cardinal Chito Tagle’s reflections in this time of COVID-19.

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Io Carpiso
Io is a high school student and amateur writer who tends to look at the future idealistically despite others' warnings. A book enthusiast, she wants to make her words substantial in this world and to lift up others with her work.