Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle says results show Church teaching on family life 'is not clearly understood by people'

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, said he was “shocked” by responses to the global survey on Church teaching on the family, issued ahead of October’s Extraordinary Synod of Bishops.

Speaking to Catholic News Service, the cardinal said he found the responses “shocking, if I am allowed to use that word… because almost in all parts of the world, the questionnaires indicated that the teaching of the Church regarding family life is not clearly understood by people.”

He added: “The language by which the church proposes the teaching seems to be a language not accessible to people. So this is my hope, not for change — how can you change the biblical teachings? But maybe a real pastoral and evangelical concern for the Church: How do we present the Good News of the family to this generation, with its limitations, with its greatness, with its unique experiences?

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“We should not be talking only to one another. The gospel of the family, the good news that is the family, should be presented to families where they are and how they are.”

In February, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tagle as one of three presidents of the synod. The presidents — including Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris and Cardinal Raymundo Assis of Aparecida, Brazil — will take turns running the general sessions of the synod, which will be held from October 5-19.

Cardinal Tagle was speaking at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, where he participated in commencement activities at the university, from which he obtained a doctorate in sacred theology in 1991.

He also said that plans are well underway for a hoped-for visit by Pope Francis to the Philippines and Sri Lanka in early 2015.

“The Vatican has not yet announced the dates and the specific itinerary that the Pope will observe, but I am confident it will happen early next year,” he said.

“I think one purpose of the visit of the Holy Father is to come close to the people who suffered from the recent typhoon (in November) and the earthquake (in October),” Cardinal Tagle continued. “We will see how that could be done. But he, I think, would want that to be a defining character of his trip.

“I have said his coming will be stronger than the typhoon, but in a positive way.”

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