Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle pointed to wrong values that render a human person “unfree to love and respect” others as an obstacle to synodality.
“Walking together may sound easy, but some prejudices are already second nature to us that we do not think they exist. But in fact, they are operating and blocking this fraternal path,” he said.
The pro-prefect of the Dicastery for Evangelization was taking to Filipino bishops at the second of a five-day executive course on servant leadership and pastoral management at the Caritas Philippines Academy in Tagaytay City last week.
He said there is a need to “purify human and institutional freedom from unfreedoms and forms of enslavement,” adding that “freedom per se is not a block to solidarity and cooperation”.
The Vatican official said freedom is “important” in the synodal process and in the journey of walking together with the community and other religions and nations.
“Some people say human freedom is the problem. But without freedom, it is not fraternity, not sorority, not solidarity, You are just being forced to do it,” he said.
“So when your companion does not walk with you freely and does not choose to walk with you, then that is not an experience of solidarity. You might be pulling apart rather than walking with a companion,” he said.
The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021, is a multiyear, worldwide undertaking during which Catholics were asked to submit feedback to their local dioceses on the question “What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together?’”
The Catholic Church’s massive synodal process has already undergone diocesan, national, and continental stages.
It will culminate in two global assemblies at the Vatican. The first will take place Oct. 4–28 and the second in October 2024 to advise the pope on the topic “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission.”
Cardinal Tagle said synodality is possible only if church leaders will “walk humbly with God.”
“If you are walking with someone, superior and greater than you, then you walk humbly. Because in comparison, you are almost nothing – thus you behave humbly,” he said.