By Vatican News
Cardinal Antonio Tagle, the first speaker at the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church, was visibly moved as he spoke about the importance of “sharing the pain” of victims of abuse.
“This is my personal and also ministerial growth”, Cardinal Tagle said in an interview with Vatican News following his address. “I’ve heard many stories from victims themselves, and it’s not easy, it’s not pleasant to listen to those stories, even if it is not clergy involved in the wounding of people”.
The Cardinal said the stories of survivors of sexual abuse are “prophetic”. “They wound me,” he continued, “and I am reminded of my own woundedness, and you develop a culture of communion with the wounded”. He suggested that it is precisely “our common woundedness that would lead us also to a common path towards, not a solution, but a way of handling or facing” the issue of abuse. Cardinal Tagle acknowledged that the wounds of abuse will remain wounds, but said that we must handle them “together, with faith”.
Asked about the theme of awareness, Cardinal Tagle emphasized the need for patience, and the need to be sensitive to different cultures. In some cultures, he noted, “even discussing sexual matters, discussing children, minors, is quite taboo”. In such cultures, Tagle said, the abuse that is occurring “in homes, in schools, in parishes” is simply not talked about. “So the awareness, I think, would have to pass through cultures”, he said.
However, Cardinal Tagle also noted that such cultures have their own ways “of being aware of the problems”.
Listen to all cultures
“Are we listening to those cultures too?” he asked. “Or have we developed the tools to detect what they are manifesting in an unspoken manner?” Cardinal Tagle noted that he has promoted more intercultural and interreligious dialogue precisely in order to help people understand one another better.