By Tracy Cabrera
REACTING to reports about some officials who are only highlighting positive elements in promoting governance in the country, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle advised that “governments should not hide the poor at international events or gatherings to highlight only the good and the beautiful.”
According to the Filipino cardinal, who has been appointed by Pope Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican, authorities around the world have a tendency to hide the poor so that foreign visitors do not see them during state visits.
“It is sad how the poor are usually buried . . . When we have international guests, one thing that governments do is hide the poor for they are a cause of shame and embarrassment,” he noted.
Tagle’s comments came in a homily as he celebrated the Holy Mass last November 15 to mark the 4th World Day of the Poor, a Sunday dedicated to the poor instituted by Pope Francis since the beginning of his papacy in 2013.
This year’s theme—Stretch forth your hand to the poor—is based on the Parable of the Talents when a master distributed talents (a former unit of currency) to his servants to take care of his property.
In support to the cardinal’s call, Manila auxiliary bishop Broderick Pabillo stressed that “(Christians) help not only with what is extra . . . but even with what is needed because others are more in need.”
Pabillo appealed to donors to help victims of the recent natural disasters that hit the country and churchgoers not to donate ‘spare’ or extra resources but instead to be sincere and not self-serving in helping the poor.
“The recent typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco) is a call for us to help one another. It is an opportunity for us to see that we have a neighbor who needs help. In all these (natural calamities), we Filipinos are being challenged to stand together, put our resources together and help,” he enthused.
The bishop added that typhoon victims must not lose hope, yet must be aware of the root cause of their suffering.”
“We are a resilient people. We are a people of faith, yet we must also see what caused the floods that damaged our lives and properties. These were man-made. We, therefore, need to re-examine our policies and environmental measures as a government and as a nation,” he stressed.
Cardinal Tagle reminded Filipinos of Pope Francis’ words during a Mass he celebrated at Manila Cathedral in 2015: “Jesus’ preferential love for the poor . . . The poor are the center of the Gospel. They are at the heart of the Gospel. If we take away the poor from the Gospel, we can’t understand the whole message of Jesus Christ.
“Preferential love for the poor is central to Christianity as Jesus was poor, said the Filipino cardinal.” (AI/MTVN)