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Media 'making too much' of pope comments

Recent interview being blown out of proportion, says Cardinal Tagle

<p>Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle speaks to ucanews.com</p>

Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle speaks to ucanews.com

  • Joe Torres, Manila
  • Philippines
  • September 30, 2013
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Pope Francis' recent interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine has been blown out of proportion by the media, according to Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

"I don't know why people, especially the media, are making an interview that looks very normal, and does not say anything new doctrinally... sound controversial," Tagle told ucanews.com in an interview at the weekend.

While the pope's interview talked about issues such as humility, the need for community, and discernment and reform in the Church, most media reports and commentaries focused on abortion, gay marriage, divorce, contraception and women in Church leadership.

Tagle said the pope was not saying anything "revolutionary" but the media made the interview sound "sensational".

"My suggestion is this: I hope people will read the interview with the pope carefully [so that] they will realize that there's nothing controversial there," the Manila prelate said.

“I got hold of the Italian original. I don't know what they did with the translation, but in the original Italian, it was a normal interview," he said.

"Let them read and understand what the pope is really saying before any sensational comment is made," Tagle added.

Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Philippine Bishops' Conference, last week said the pope's statements do not contradict Church doctrine.

"He is only reminding us that perhaps ... the world needs our witnessing to charity, how we care for the poor, how we care for those who are distant from the Church," Palma said.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the incoming head of the Bishops' Conference, said the pope did not reject opposition by Church leaders to contraception, abortion or gay marriage. "He just set it on a proper grounding," he said.

Tagle, meanwhile, said the Church, especially in Asia, needs to make new approaches in its mission, which is "harmonized" with the "new evangelization" being pushed by the Vatican.

He said the Asian Church should find a "renewed sense of mission" and the "creativity in finding new opportunities for expressing the Gospel".

"The Vatican is watching [the Asian Church] because [Church leaders] are interested," said Tagle, who will be in Rome next week and will return to Manila to open the October 16-18 Philippine Conference on New Evangelization.

Tagle said "people in the Vatican ... are encouraging us to pursue [the meeting] and said maybe we could contribute to the universal search for ways for new evangelization."

The prelate said the meeting is the Philippines' "humble contribution to the celebration of the Year of Faith and the call of the Church for new evangelization."

"We want to provide experiences of the Church, renewed in Communion ... because it is not just individuals who are called to be evangelizers in our contemporary world but also local communities, parishes, families, dioceses and even national churches," Tagle said.

Dubbed as the "grand climax" of the Year of Faith celebrations in Manila, the three-day conference will feature seminars, workshops and activities that tackle modern-day approaches to deepening faith and spirituality.

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