MANILA, Philippines—The Roman Catholic Church in the country should be humble and avoid being self-referential, said Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Tagle urged the Church to follow Pope Francis’ example of being humble and to value simplicity despite being the dominant religious group in the Philippines.
“One of the messages of the Pope that is really striking for us in the Philippines is his reminder that the Church should not be self-referential,” Tagle said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s not bad to look at the mirror to check yourself but, if you keep on doing it for a whole day, there’s something different there,” he added.
Tagle said the Church, one of the most powerful social institutions in the Philippines, should not focus on itself but “look at the periphery.”
“You look at yourself to be prepared to look at others…the last, the lost, and the least. I think this is a special call for the Philippines because here in Asia, aside from East Timor, the Philippines is one of the predominantly Christian countries,” he said.
“Half of Christians in Asia is in the Philippines…and while we rejoice and give thanks for this gift of God., there is that danger that, because we are the majority, we become complacent and self-focused,” he added.
Tagle said that groups that have become influential could lose touch with the simple and ordinary life.
“When I last met with the Pope…I told him, ‘Oh Cardinal Begoglio is now Pope Francis.’ He said ‘But I remain an ordinary person…A sinner who was called by God,’” he said.
“So for him, the call to be simple is not a show. He really believes in it. So when he issues a call to the Church, it’s coming from a deep, deep calling in his heart,” he added.