Cardinal Tagle to priests, nuns: Be one with the wounded

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle on Wednesday, July 18, called on priests and nuns to keep an "existential solidarity with neighbors," especially the wounded, as he criticized practices that isolate them from lay Catholics.

"Sharing in the priesthood of Christ is sharing in his holiness – availability to do God's will and existential solidarity with neighbors, especially the wounded and those who have committed mistakes in life," Tagle said.

Tagle was delivering the plenary talk at the 5th Philippine Conference on New Evangelization (PCNE), an annual event to rekindle the faith, at the University of Santo Tomas (UST). His talk, titled "Sharing in the One Priesthood of Christ," was attended by around 2,000 priests and nuns.

This comes at a time when the Philippine Catholic Church is under siege, with 3 Catholic priests recently killed, while parishes face dwindling Mass attendance as the church struggles for relevance.

Tagle reminded priests and nuns on Tuesday: "Jesus was all around in the marketplace of life. He was not confined there in the temple." He said Jesus deviated from the Jewish priesthood of his time, where "holiness is by separating the clean from the unclean."

"God comes in the human face, and Jesus the priest is truly divine, truly human, in existential solidarity with sinners," the cardinal said. 

Tagle then criticized the practice of placing novitiates, or seminaries, "away from civilization" supposedly because novices can only be holy in isolation from people. 

"Pati minsan 'yung mga vestments natin, ano, 'pag nakita ko, 'Ano ba 'to, 'yung Levitical high priest o 'yung priesthood of Christ (Sometimes even with our vestments, whenever I see these, "What is this, is this of the Levitical high priest or of the priesthood of Christ)?'" Tagle asked. 

He then stressed the need to learn from ordinary people. "Let's admit that holiness of life, we see among simple mothers and fathers, the simple janitors, the simple cleaner in the canteen, the laundrywoman who suffers in order to send her child to school."

"We also admit that we have to be inspired by the dynamism of holiness that many unsung heroes of the faith manifest to us," Tagle said. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at