One of the most senior cardinals, a likely contender for the papal office at the next conclave, has acknowledged that the language used by the Church has seriously wounded and damaged gay people (and also the divorced and single people).
At the last conclave Cardinal Tagle was widely considered a papablile, in spite of his youthful age. Since then, he has become if anything even more influential – he has just been appointed by Pope Francis as the new president of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF). Still only 57, will be an even stronger contender tor the papacy at the next conclave, whenever that should be.
There is much in his record to date to place him on the moderate to progressive wing of the college of cardinals. As an historian, his contribution to a major history of Vatican II was strongly criticized by conservatives. He has said that the Church should consider ending compulsory celibacy for Catholic priests, and both before and during the 2014 family synod, has expressed support for finding some way to extend communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. Although he joined other Philippine bishops in opposing the Reproductive Health Bill on extending contraception to the poor as well as the rich who already have access to it, his opposition was more muted than that of his peers.
Cardinal Tagle’s general approach and style has much in common with Pope Francis’, with a strong emphasis on mercy, healing and inclusion – and a stated belief that the real threats to the family are poverty and migration (not same – sex relationships). After a keynote speech to a Philippines gathering of young Catholics, he gave an interview to the Telegraph, in which his comments on the Church’s past treatment of gay and civilly remarried people, and the present shifts in language, are important:
In an interview after his keynote address Cardinal Tagle condemned ways of speaking to and about gay and civilly remarried people that “branded” and ostracised them.
“I think even the language has changed already, the harsh words that were used in the past to refer to gays and divorced and separated people, the unwed mothers etc, in the past they were quite severe,” he said.
“Many people who belonged to those groups were branded and that led to their isolation from the wider society. I don’t know whether this is true but I heard that in some circles, Christian circles, the suffering that these people underwent was even considered as a rightful consequence of their mistakes, so [it was] spiritualised in that sense. But we are glad to see and hear shifts in that,” he said.
He told The Telegraph that the Church needed to learn the meaning of mercy “over and over again”. Catholic schools and institutions that enforced harsh rules had wounded people, he said, welcoming lessons from child psychology that would help the Church help them to heal.
via The Tablet – News.