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Philippine cardinal: Western media perspective was dominant at synod

October 31, 2014

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Reflecting on the recently concluded Synod of Bishops on the family, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said that labels such as liberal and conservative are “not very useful,” according to an AsiaNews report.

“To say that a bishop is conservative, liberal, or traditionalist is a way of preventing true listening,” he said. “If we already fit those in front of us into a given category, we end up hearing what they say in a biased way. And this is very harmful.”

Media coverage “focused on some issues, such as same-sex unions and divorced people, which are not always at the center of the debate,” he continued. “Coverage of the synod was still dominated by the West.”

“The Christian tradition but also the Word of God and the teachings of the Church, over time, have shown their richness,” Cardinal Tagle added. “They are not monochromatic or dull. Those that seem different opinions may instead be different facets of the same reality.”


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  • Posted by: christhavemercy821235 - Nov. 02, 2014 3:34 AM ET USA

    Instead of using the term liberal it should use the word "unfaithful" or like Cardinal Burke said "Uncatholic". Modernism is a heresy that has the character of mercury, it is hard to pin point. Its bottom line is use "feeling" to replace objective truth.

  • Posted by: Mirabilis - Nov. 01, 2014 12:31 AM ET USA

    The problem is that current usage of words like "conservative" and "liberal" have little to do with their historical meaning. This compounds the confusion since through Christ we are all called to be "conservative" and "liberal" and "orthodox" and "progressive" simultaneously. "Orthodox" and "heterodox" are probably more accurate labels since labels are occasionally required. Even "dynamic orthodoxy" works for me.

  • Posted by: Edward I. - Oct. 31, 2014 9:21 PM ET USA

    jg: Words like "Arian" and "monophysite" have specific, concrete denotations. It is a matter of objective fact whether someone is an Arian, and you can test it. "Liberal" and "Conservative" on the other hand denote nothing concrete. You can fully characterize everything about a person by simply describing him as he is, with concrete words like "Arian", and never once calling him liberal. These words don't so much clarify thought as muddy it, because they aren't specific enough to be clear.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 31, 2014 8:29 AM ET USA

    I have seen this criticism frequently leveled, especially against the terms "conservative" and "liberal". Both have a peculiar meaning in American political discourse and can be puzzling elsewhere on the globe; that alone argues against their use. That said, haven't labels always been used to organize our thoughts inside and outside the Church? Without using words like Arians, monophysites, Jacobins, socialist, etc., how does one discuss much of anything? Should we pretend parties don't exist?