Tagle lashes out at politicians as election season starts

Cardinal warns Filipino candidates in Ash Wednesday homily not to use charity for self interest
Tagle lashes out at politicians as election season starts

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has lashed out at politicians who promote themselves under the guise of "charity" as the election season starts in the Philippines.

"There will be a lot of doleouts in the coming days, but how many of these are real charity? Or is it just for personal interest? Tagle said in his Ash Wednesday homily on Feb. 10.

The cardinal discussed several concerns confronting Philippine society, such as poverty and the environment, but reserved his most impassioned words for ordinary people whose struggles, he said, are worsened by some peoples' "selfish" thirst for power.

The campaign for the country's national elections in May officially started on Feb. 9. Candidates for national and local posts have started courting voters through various means that traditionally include handing out gifts. 

Cardinal Tagle reminded the predominantly Catholic electorate that real generosity of spirit is doing something for someone without their knowledge.

He lamented that even charity, which is supposed to be a path to closer union with God, can be used for selfish interests.

"That is why Jesus said if you give alms do it in silence. Don't have yourselves photographed. That is the work of hypocrites," he said.

Cardinal Tagle presided over a Eucharistic celebration at the Archdiocese of Manila chapel in Intramuros with the rite of the blessing and marking of foreheads with ashes to mark the start of the Lenten season.

He reminded Catholics that Lent is a "call for reconciliation with God."

He, however, warned that doing acts of charity contrary to its true meaning is like rubbing salt into a wound.

"It is not charity. It is an insult to the recipient," he said. "You will just distance yourself from God if that is your way of alms giving."

The cardinal emphasized the message of the Gospel reading of the day: almsgiving, prayer and fasting.

He reminded Catholics that Lent is a time for renewal, with special attention toward the suffering of others and helping them.

In early February Cardinal Tagle urged Catholics to feed hungry children as a "concrete act of charity" on Ash Wednesday.

He said Lent should be a particular occasion "to heed Pope Francis' call to practice mercy through concrete acts of charity."

Sign up to receive UCAN Daily Full Bulletin
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter
Tagle proposed this could be done through the Fast2Feed campaign, a Hapag-Asa feeding program of the Manila Archdiocese and its suffragan dioceses.

Hapag-Asa programs provide not only supplemental food but also early childhood education and livelihood and skills training for parents. 

© Copyright 2019, UCANews.com All rights reserved
© Copyright 2019, Union of Catholic Asian News Limited. All rights reserved
Expect for any fair dealing permitted under the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without prior permission.