Cardinal Tagle on Nazareno 2017: Stop judging others

Paterno Esmaquel II
Cardinal Tagle on Nazareno 2017: Stop judging others
The Manila archbishop tells a polarized Philippines, 'Ang pagkakahati-hati, kalimitan, bunga ng panghuhusga'

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle urged Filipinos not to judge each other as he addressed a polarized country on the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Monday, January 9.

“Mga kapatid, ito ang isang uri o aspeto ng pag-ibig na kailangan natin para magkaisa,” Tagle said in his homily during the Midnight Mass on Monday at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta. 

(Brothers and sisters, this is one kind or aspect of love that we need so that we can unite.)

“Kasi po ang pagkakahati-hati, kalimitan, bunga ng panghuhusga: Sila, mali. Ako, tama. Magkaiba kami. Kayo, marumi. Ako, malinis. Magkaiba tayo. Kayo, baluktot ang isip. Ako, tuwid, maliwanag ang isip. Magkaiba tayo,” the cardinal added.

(This is because division is often the effect of prejudice: They are wrong, I am right. We are different. You are dirty. I am clean. We are different. You have a foolish mind. I am upright, with a clear mind. We are different.)

Tagle continued: “At kapag ganyan nang ganyan, wala tayong maaabot na pagkakaisa dahil walang kakayahan na sabihin, hindi naman tayo iba sa isa’t isa.”

(And if it is always like that, we cannot achieve unity because we do not have the capability to say we aren’t really different from each other.)

Tagle delivered this message as Filipinos, especially online, remain divided about the Philippine government. Namecalling, for instance, has become a widespread practice online, driving a wedge between supporters and critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The common point of contention has been Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed more than 6,200 people since the President took office on July 1, 2016. (READ: Devotees mark Nazarene feast in time of killings)

‘Tama na ang pagmamalinis’

On Monday, Tagle rooted his message in the character of Jesus the Nazarene, who allowed himself to be baptized by John the Baptist even if he was born without sin.

Jesus the Nazarene is the inspiration for the 17th-century image of the Black Nazarene, a mulatto image of Jesus Christ that devotees believe to be miraculous. On Monday, the Feast of the Black Nazarene is expected to attract up to 8 million devotees in a procession called the Traslacion.

Referring to Jesus, the cardinal said, “Hindi niya ikinahiya na makilala at makita na kasama ng mga aba, ng mga kinukutya dahil sila’y makasalanan. Hindi. Hindi niya ‘yon ikinahiya. Ipinadama niya sa kanila: ‘Hindi kayo naiiba sa akin. Nandito ako para maging kaisa ninyo.'”

(He was not ashamed to be identified and seen along with the lowly, those persecuted because they’re known to be sinful. No. He was not ashamed of that. He made them feel: “You are no different from me. I am here to be one with you.”)

Tagle delivered a similar message on Sunday, January 8, during the “Day of Hope” Mass at the Manila Cathedral – a thanksgiving for former drug addicts who have reformed their lives.

“Tama na po ang pagmamalinis – ‘Hmm, diyan ka, dito kami!’ Tama na ‘yung panghuhusga – ‘Kayo, makasalanan, marumi; kami, maayos, malinis.’ Ang liwanag ni Kristo, para sa lahat,” the cardinal said at the “Day of Hope” Mass.

(Let’s stop pretending to be clean – “Hmm, stay there, we’re here!” Let’s stop judging others – “You are sinful, dirty; we are upright, clean.” The light of Christ is for all.) –

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at