Diversity is not a bad thing, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said in an interview published Wednesday, noting that dialogue within authentic relationships can help Catholics to recognize the people they encounter as their brothers and sisters.
Speaking to La Voce e il Tempo, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Turin, Tagle said “dialogue occurs when we become aware that we meet our brother in humanity. It happens when we realize that in this humanity that unites us we have things that we can share.”
“If we start from this common field then we can also discover that diversity -- which is as real as communion in humanity -- is not an enemy,” he continued. “I believe that we must start from what unites us to understand that the other is not, in his diversity, a threat.”
The interview, which took place in Turin Aug. 7, was published Sept. 10. Cardinal Tagle is the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and president of Caritas Internationalis, a global Catholic charity.
“We need to listen and trust, and we must be ready to learn and celebrate the uniqueness of the people we face,” the cardinal said. “Only in this type of dialogue, only if we become able to see ourselves in others, can we make progress.”
Tagle encouraged Catholics to rediscover their baptismal call to evangelize and share the good news of the Gospel.
“Five hundred years ago, speaking of mission, we imagined nations that sent [missionaries] and nations that received,” he said. This is still somewhat valid, he noted, “but in this time, in a world in constant movement, we should focus and rediscover the word evangelization.”
With evangelization, “everyone receives and everyone gives,” he emphasized.
Tagle explained that offering good news is a part of everyday life: like telling your friends about a good sale, or when a woman discovers she is pregnant and cannot wait to share the news with her family and friends.
“This giving good news is not about the country you come from or where you offer this news, but it is the impulse of the heart to communicate this news that counts! The impulse of the heart is what drives us to want to communicate,” he said.
He added that a lack of religious vocations is not the end of evangelization. “Instead, it is an invitation to take responsibility: to recognize that proclaiming the Gospel is the call of every baptized person, in every place,” he said. “All of us who have received baptism are called to respond to its meaning by sharing it in our life with those we meet.”
Regarding the proclamation of the Gospel in an inter-religious context, Tagle said that, in his experience, “the language of concrete charity is understood and comprehensible by everyone.”
“Serving the poor is already proclaiming the Gospel. First it is charity that opens the doors of the heart, then come the words,” he said.
On the topic of secularization, the cardinal said that the Church teaches there is a “good and healthy secularity,” because “the seculum [generation] is everything that is concrete creation, it is therefore entirely the work of God…”
“The problem arises when one passes from secularity -- from seculum -- to secularism,” he argued, a secularity which declares the world “would be better without God.”
“The challenge today is therefore to maintain and nourish the sense of God and of the divine by continuing our experience as humans, enjoying this seculum in which we live,” he said.