Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is asking Christians to rescue the Church from "egotism and self-interest" and, like St. Francis, to rebuild it.
According to UCANews, the archbishop of Manila offered this exhortation to some 6,000 Catholics from the whole Asian continent, gathered in the Philippines for the first Conference on New Evangelization in Asia.
Cardinal Tagle illustrated his point by noting the destruction this week of centuries-old churches in the earthquake that struck Bohol province.
“It’s heartbreaking to see how these heritage churches, which became a foundation of faith for hundreds of years, have now turned into rubble,” the Manila prelate said in his homily during the Mass that officially opened the conference at the 400-year old University of Santo Tomas in Manila.
The cardinal said he could almost hear the message of God to St. Francis: “Build my Church, rebuild my Church.”
“But how can we reconstruct the Church apart from Jesus the cornerstone? How can we construct the Church without His life-giving Word? How can we strengthen the Church without the Holy Spirit who will transform hearts of stones into living flesh and all of us into a living temple,” Cardinal Tagle asked.
“How can we construct the Church without love that enables us to break from egoism and self-interest in order to embrace God, neighbor, society, and all of creation?”
The three-day conference is a Year of Faith event and a response to Benedict XVI's repeated calls for a new evangelization.
Pope Francis is set to address the conference via a video message on Friday.