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Anglican bishops must 'dream together' says cardinal Tagle

Patrick Hudson - The Tablet - Wed, Aug 10th 2022

Cardinal Tagle: “Dreaming of a common human family is becoming difficult even for future generations.”

Anglican bishops must 'dream together' says cardinal

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle talks with Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, ahead of the Plenary Session on “The Decade Ahead” in the Main Venue at The University of Kent during the 2022 Lambeth Conference.-Neil Turner for The Lambeth Conference.

The Filipino prelate Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle encouraged Anglican bishops to “dream together” as he addressed the Lambeth Conference on Saturday.

Speaking on the First Epistle of St Peter and its meaning for the Church in the coming decade, Cardinal Tagle quoted extensively from Pope Francis on the need to be a “pilgrim church”. He said he was struck by the epistle’s description of early Christians as “sojourners” and “aliens”, and asked: “Do we still feel like journeyors?”

He warned that a sense of establishment could lead Churches to behave “as owners of land and peoples and ideas”, imperilling its mission, particularly at a time of growing polarisation.

He said that this was pertinent to dealing with the “sojourners” and “aliens” of the modern world – those made homeless or dispersed by conflict and disaster. Churches, he said, must be hospitable to all, because “ethnic and cultural issues ruin the spiritual home” and “populist” attitudes were threatening the proper meaning of the word “people”.

“Dreaming of a common human family is becoming difficult even for future generations.”

Speaking with characteristic informality, Cardinal Tagle told his audience that he was “trembling with fear” as he spoke and emphasised the personal nature of his reflections on the theme. He compared the alienation between generations to children’s distaste for their grandparents’ cuisine, and said that the “Digital Technological Matrix” meant that words like “friend” or “like” had different meanings for different generations.

The cardinal wondered whether Churches consider these differences sufficiently in their evangelisation, and called for them to show the “cultural intelligence” displayed by Christ in the Gospels. He noted that true openness to others leads to suffering and persecution.

These were topics addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in his final two major speeches to the conference on Friday and Sunday. In the former he emphasised that the Church must include people “that society does not like” and that “[being] friends with them will get us in all sorts of hot water”.

He called for the Church to pursue “Christian revolution” both in society and in its own institutions, describing it as “a place of evolution and revolution without violence” in contrast with the revolutions which follow atheist creeds.

On Sunday, as the conference drew to a close, Archbishop Welby praised Cardinal Tagle’s remarks and urged the Communion’s bishops to act on the call to mission and not to be “sucked into supporting governments, colluding with injustice and supporting oppression”.

“A key mark of declining institutions or companies or countries – and churches – is that they may have a vision of what they should do, they may even have a clear strategy: they just can’t turn their strategy into action,” he told the audience on the final morning of the conference.

He said that the week had unintentionally “become a time of intense ecclesiological development, and thinking and reflection for the Anglican Communion”.

This followed the easing of tensions between bishops on Anglican teaching on sexuality after the fraught early days of the conference, with the apparent acceptance of different teachings between provinces. Later on Sunday, however, bishops from the conservative Global South Fellowship issued a statement saying that they could not accept “two different views within one communion”.

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