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‘Culture of superiority’ among obstacles to synodality, says Cardinal Tagle

By Roy Lagarde

The ‘culture of superiority’ among people, and even within the church, is one of the hindrances to synodality,” Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said.

Speaking before a group of Filipino bishops, the pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization said that the church needs to overcome that mentality to effectively promote synodality and fraternal cooperation.

“One block to synodality and fraternal cooperation is the sense of cultural superiority which brings prejudice towards the others,” Tagle said.”Even some of our lay leaders assume a culture of superiority.”

“The cultures of the ordained, please watch what culture is operating in your seminaries,” he said. “Instead of being prepared for a ministry, they’re being prepared to assume a rank.”

The Vatican official was speaking at the second of a five-day course on servant leadership and pastoral management for bishops at the Caritas Philippines Academy in Tagaytay City on Sept. 19.

On the other hand, the cardinal emphasized that humility is essential for both service and synodality.

Tagle emphasized that people should walk as God walks. A synodal church, he added, should walk with God and follow the way he walks.

“This is how God walks—humbly, with collaborators, even if they are not the best or the most perfect, even if they are frail. He walks with them, he guides them, and he even learns from them,” Tagle said.

“Synodality, for me, is possible only if we walk humbly with God,” he pointed out.

Tagle emphasized that freedom is crucial for genuine fraternal cooperation and synodality because it enables authentic collaboration.

Freedom per se, he explained, is not a block to synodality, “but mentalities, attitudes, wrong values, that make us unfree to love, to respect and to work with others.”

“This is pastoral discernment: guiding people to recognize personal, individual, and communal obstacles to freedom—the freedom to love, serve, and walk together,” Tagle said.


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