Is Francis conservative or liberal? Tagle: ‘He is what he is’

Gerard Lim
Is Francis conservative or liberal? Tagle: ‘He is what he is’
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle says the Pope 'has no liberty to invent his own teaching' but is attentive to the signs of the times

MANILA, Philippines – True to Church teaching, Pope Francis repeatedly stressed the sanctity of family and criticized “growing efforts” to redefine the institution of marriage in his speeches to Filipinos during his first papal visit to the Southeast Asian country.

The Pope’s criticism of the “ideological colonization of the family” was understood by some as a reference against same-sex marriage.

But the Argentine pontiff is also well known for taking a non-judgmental tone toward homosexuals, in comments that many took as a sign of his being a “progressive” pope.

Asked about whether the Pope is conservative or progressive, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said on Sunday, January 18, a person does not simply fall into either one of the two categories.

“This is my personal view. I just don’t want to classify anyone as conservative, as progressive, because a person goes beyond those labels, especially a person who works in the area of faith and pastoral life,” Tagle said.

He added that the Pope, as leader of an institution steeped in history and tradition, receives and follows Church teaching, but is also attentive to the signs of the times and how the Catholic faith fits into it.

“When you have a religion of Catholicism, you receive a lot. A Pope has no liberty to invent his own teaching so there’s an element of receiving from the past,” Tagle said.

He added: “But he is attentive to society, he has a desire to see how the tradition of the faith can be further explored. In the process, I don’t see that as an activity of a liberal or a conservative.”

The Manila archbishop also narrated that a journalist once asked him point-blank: “Is he conservative or a liberal? What is he?”

Tagle responded: “He is what he is.” Rappler.com

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