Rorate Caeli

A sign of things to come? The new Archbishop of Manila on the Church's mission

The Archbishop-elect of Manila, Luis Antonio Tagle, was installed today in his new position. The full text of his inaugural homily has not yet been posted on the official website of the Archdiocese of Manila, but it has already appeared on at least one blog from the Philippines. (The full text can be found here.)

Much of the attention on this youngish prelate has been focused on his ecclesiological views in the light of his affiliation with the "Bologna school". It is an affiliation that continues to color his theological vision if the following passage from his inaugural homily as Archbishop of Manila -- especially the second paragraph -- is any indication (emphases are Rorate's):



...First of all, the mission of the Church should be wholly directed by the Lord who is always present as Shepherd and guide. Human efforts should continue but unless the Lord directs the catch, we labour in vain. We know that the Lord guards His Church. He keeps watch with us on those long nights of confusion and helplessness in mission. When in spite of our good intentions and efforts there are still multitude of hungry people we cannot feed, homeless people we cannot shelter, battered women and children we cannot protect, cases of corruption and injustice that we cannot remedy, the long night of the disciples in the middle of the sea continues in us. Then we grow in compassion towards our neighbors whose lives seem to be a never ending dark night. But in our weariness the Lord comes. Advent never ends. He is the shepherd promised in the first reading from Ezekiel. He will come to his sheep where they are scattered when it is cloudy and dark. He is near. He is Emmanuel. But we need to hear his voice and to follow hi direction. We need to see realities with His eyes. We need faith. Without faith fueled by love, we cannot truly be a missionary Church of Jesus Christ. It is only by the vision provided by faith that the Church could meaningfully casts its nets in the vast seas of the world and history. They may be murky to human eyes, but the Lord sees where the fishes are. The new evangelization requires putting in the mind and eyes of the Lord again, a transformation coming from prayer. Then we see differently. A child, especially the unborn is no longer seen as a burden but a gift, the youth are not a problem but a promise, women are not objects but persons, labourers are not machines but partners, the poor are not a nuisance but our jewels, and the creation is not an object of manipulation but a sign of God’s sustaining love. These and many more comprise the Church’s miraculous harvest from the seas of mission if only we see with the eyes of Christ. Whenever we see as the Lord does, there is hope! 

Secondly, we need to follow the Lord in our mission not singly but together as the disciples did. Mission is an ecclesial event. We will be together in failure, in listening to the Spirit, in beholding the God’s miracles, and in hauling the nets to shore. As it was then, so it is today. The ordained, the religious and the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission, though in various states of life and with a diversity of gifts. When we take different boats and even compete against each other to get the better portion of the catch for our own teams, we are not engaging in mission. Divisiveness and destructive competition will only help sink the boat. Let us look to the one Shepherd who gathers his sheep instead of scattering them. It is the Lord!

28 comments:

totustuusmaria said...

A cursory glance did not reveal to me anything wrong with what he said. Indeed, it seemed rather moving, as far as it went. Our submission of mind and heart to the Lord -- our communion with Him should bear precisely the fruits that he is speaking of. It is the Lord. I am not aware of his overall theological arc enough to see if there are problematic seeds within in, but I would not suspect anything was amiss if I heard this come from a priest offering a High Mass on Sunday.

totustuusmaria said...

"The ordained, the religious and the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission"

I missed the words "non-Catholic Christians" in my original reading. My apologies. That, obviously, makes the statement less straightforward. Christianity outside of communion with the Church cannot, obviously, be seen as one path alongside membership in the Church. It is not enough to have all the ecclesiastical treasures and all the elements of faith in the Trinity, as do the Orthodox, and lack communion with the Church. I do not know whether he thinks that they are equally good "paths" through Christ, but he at least promotes an atmosphere of confusion by saying what he says without qualifications.

There may be other statements within his text that I just missed. I wanted to correct my earlier comment, lest people think I don't have a clear sense of the identity and necessity of the Church.

rodrigo said...

I think totustuusmaria might want to re-read this part:

The ordained, the religious and the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission, though in various states of life and with a diversity of gifts.

Yes, non-Catholic Christians are called to the same mission as Catholics. But a necessary part of responding to that call is their first uniting themselves to the one true flock, led by God's chosen. Until they do that, there must be "competition" between us and them, because we serve our Father in Heaven, while they are deceived by the Father of lies.

DefensorFidei said...

Totustuusmaria:

This isn't problematic for you?

"The ordained, the religious and the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission, though in various states of life and with a diversity of gifts. When we take different boats and even compete against each other to get the better portion of the catch for our own teams, we are not engaging in mission. Divisiveness and destructive competition will only help sink the boat."

So, for Tagle:

1) Catholics and non-Catholics have one mission and

2) Should not bother to convert each other's flocks because that won't be "engaging in mission".

The rest of the homily may be nice and moving but in defining the mission of the Church there is a remarkable lack of mention of THE historic understanding of the Church's mission: mission ad gentes, to bring souls to Christ and His Church. That is NEVER mentioned in the entire homily. Instead we get a creative redefinition of evangelization as looking at things with new eyes, etc. Doubtless that is part of evangelization, but it completely misses the heart of the matter.

I am not Spartacus said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKZSqd5Y8nA

Yes, we are all on a Mission from God whether it is the Mission of the One Universal Church Jesus established or the christian communion established by Luther or the mission from God established in the christian communion by George Fox and everyone arrives at the shore of Salvation no matter if they are on The Barque of Peter or if they are adrift in Satan's Seas or if they are kneeling on a sideline at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

Everyone has their own Mission and every Mission is of equal value. Who is to say that He who is The Way established the only Way to Salvation when He established His Church; who is to say the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass and the Sacramental System of The Catholic Church is any better of a way to Salvation than writing Bible Chapter and Verse references under your eyes?

What is Indifferentism if not a problem of divisiveness in the eyes of those beholding its manifestation in The Hierarchy?

The real problem is what to do with The SSPX...

Jitpring said...

"we need to follow the Lord in our mission not singly but together as the disciples did. Mission is an ecclesial event. We will be together in failure, in listening to the Spirit, in beholding the God’s miracles, and in hauling the nets to shore."

No. We die alone. We go to God alone. We are judged alone.

Prof. Basto said...

It is difficult to nourish the virtue of Hope when one reads such a thing

Melchior Cano said...

"No. We die alone. We go to God alone. We are judged alone."

The bishop's heretical statements aside, this is a poorly written or thought-out comment. It's true we die alone and that we are judged alone, but we are no saved alone, as the Protestants have it. We are saved as part of a community, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Long-Skirts said...

Archbishop of Manila said:

"the lay faithful, including non-Catholic Christians are called to one mission, though in various states of life and with a diversity of gifts...and even compete against each other to get the better portion of the catch for our own teams, we are not engaging in mission."

Well, shoot! I should have had a tubal-ligation after our second child. What was I thinking filling my boat up with the "better portion"?! My non Catholic "Christian" friends take yearly cruises and I'm still rowing along!!

I am not Spartacus said...

I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world. Thine they were, and to me thou gavest them; and they have kept thy word. [7] Now they have known, that all things which thou hast given me, are from thee: [8] Because the words which thou gavest me, I have given to them; and they have received them, and have known in very deed that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. [9] I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me: because they are thine: [10] And all my things are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

[11 And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou has given me; that they may be one, as we also are. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled. [13] And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves. [14] I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world; as I also am not of the world. [15] I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil.

[16] They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. [19] And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. [20] And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me;

[21] That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [John 17:21] [Latin] [22] And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: [23] I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. [24] Father, I will that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou hast given me, because thou hast loved me before the creation of the world. [25] Just Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee: and these have known that thou hast sent me.

[26] And I have made known thy name to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.

He preaches that everyone has a Mission. I don't see Jesus teaching that.

As far as I can see, he is preaching a different Gospel; he is preaching Indifferentism

Gonesimera said...

Teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church would be a good place to start !

Then the rest would fall into place.

P.K.T.P. said...

Of course, this prelate's œcumenical statement is mistaken, but I would not really panic. He is only letting out the same pablum we get from all of them on such things. We could hardly expect better. I would focus more on the positive here: he doesn't say any new thing which is shocking or regrettable, just the same old boring things.

P.K.T.P.

Athanasius said...

Gonesimera, the teaching of the CCC is needed? Get a load of this trash from it:

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

There's more. Much more. Google for this:

The New Catechism: Is it Catholic?

Delphina said...

One more thing - if we think this bishop's logic through, what do we need him for?

JTLiuzza said...

Delphina said, "if we think this bishop's logic through, what do we need him for?"

Exactly. And for that matter, what do we need the Church for?

Delphina said...

JTLiuzza,

Too bad NC refused to publish my other comment. You would have agreed with that one too.

You are right, of course! If what His, well...,the bishop, says is true, we don't need the Church since it has no mission, and he is out of a job along with many others.

John McFarland said...

This is what Blessed John Paul II believed.

This is what the current Holy Father believes.

Did you suppose that an important see would go to a man who believed anything else?

Delphina said...

I'll bite, John McFarland.

No. Had he been thumping the Catechism of the Council of Trent he'd be relegated to the looney bin.

Art Thou Elias? said...

This is straight out of the Modernist playbook: part of it sounds like it could be an excerpt from "Soul of the Apostolate,"(evangelization comes from prayer) and part of it is the usual false ecumenism of Vatican II (as others have already pointed out).

Jordanes551 said...

Did you suppose that an important see would go to a man who believed anything else?

That's a reasonable inference, but still far from conclusive.

Mar said...

Delphina said:"One more thing - if we think this bishop's logic through, what do we need him for?"

Spot on, Delphina. And not only that. All our debates about adhering to the Magisterium, and assent of intellect and will, and serenity and joy, and pride and
faith, are totally useless and irrelevant. We have been wasting our time big time.

Ben Vallejo said...

Well, Methinks His Grace should have used "separated brethren" like the Pope of the Second Vatican Council did. Blessed John XXIII would have never used "non-Catholic Christians" for even if that were factual, it misses out on the mission of all Christians that they may be one.

Yes there the mission of our separated brethren is the same mission that we have and that is to preach the Gospel in charity. Since these involves prayer especially of the sacramental kind, we will expect that if we hold fast to the Gospel, then true union will happen.

This union will only come with prayer, humility and sacrifice.

And indeed it is starting to happen, first with groups of Anglicans, who have started the process of union. These Anglicans have been so close to us. Then will follow the Lutherans until in God's time the Reformation is ended in realizing that communion with the See of Peter is the only option.

JAK said...

This prelate's indifferentism is no different from that expressed years ago by "Evangelicals and Catholics Together (First Things, May 1994, at: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/evangelicals--catholics-together-the-christian-mission-in-the-third-millennium-2), where: "As Christ is one, so the Christian mission is one. That one mission can be and should be advanced in diverse ways. Legitimate diversity, however, should not be confused with existing divisions between Christians that obscure the one Christ and hinder the one mission. There is a necessary connection between the visible unity of Christians and the mission of the one Christ. We together pray for the fulfillment of the prayer of Our Lord: “May they all be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so also may they be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” (John 17) We together, Evangelicals and Catholics, confess our sins against the unity that Christ intends for all his disciples. The one Christ and one mission includes many other Christians, notably the Eastern Orthodox and those Protestants not commonly identified as Evangelical. All Christians are encompassed in the prayer, “May they all be one.” Our present statement attends to the specific problems and opportunities in the relationship between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants."

Fortiter Pugnem said...

Art Thou Elias,

About the "Soul of The Apostolate", what do you mean? Dom Chautard didn't say anything "Vatican IIish" so I certainly hope you mean the sermon's good side is like his book.

To add to Athanasius,

2358
"...for most of them it is a trial [homosexuality - and I get that last part, but yet...]. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."
Wait- do we accept them or them and their lifestyle? The same old same old murky language. And discrimination? You mean we should let someone who is leading a lifestyle like this (and is "trying" ..not really) work in a place where he could lead others into sin? Or worse yet, hang around my children? I understand these people need help, but this?
The CCC is responsible for homilies like this. It could be interpreted as heresy, or as orthodoxy. It never crosses either line. as H.E. young enough to have been raised with this book?

Knight of Malta said...

LOL! Child-bishop! His theological training is probably as sound as Rahner's!

mundabor said...

"When in spite of our good intentions and efforts there are still multitude of hungry people we cannot feed, homeless people we cannot shelter, battered women and children we cannot protect, cases of corruption and injustice that we cannot remedy, the long night of the disciples in the middle of the sea continues in us".

This is a truism, and an easy quest for popular consent.

Obviously, the world will always remain imperfect, and someone should tell the bishop that this is because of the original sin and not because we, say, don't pray enough (though this doesn't mean that we pray enough).

Whenever I see worldly issues taking the foreground, I smell V II.

Salvation is the main (as in: main) issue, not poverty. Poverty was not Christ's main issue, but Marx's.

Mundabor

Jub Alabastro said...

Kindly highlight also this part "Let us look to the one Shepherd who gathers his sheep instead of scattering them. It is the Lord!"

Since this blog is kind enough to put commentaries, kindly put John 10 as gloss. And if it is not too much, kindly also put forth the Traditional Bible Commentaries (i.e. Haydock's, Cornelius Lapide, and most especially St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea) on this particular chapter.

And if there is still room 1Pet. 3:19-21. I don't think the image of a boat was used as an analogy because of the Philippine Dragon Boat team.

japotillor said...

I must say, I've met this Bishop, and I did not come away impressed...Child Bishop indeed.