Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle on family values, doctor-assisted suicide, Philippine divorce bill

by Cecile Docto, ABS-CBN News

VANCOUVER — Manila’s Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle calls on Catholics to strengthen the faith in the family, during his one-day visit to Vancouver.

The theme of the talk was Keeping Families in Faith, and was very timely as the House of Congress approved the third and final reading of a bill seeking to legalize divorce in the Philippines.

In an interview with BA, Tagle says the bishops recognize the difficulty of some couples in a relationship, and are not blind to the complexity of the issues.

But he explains the difference between divorce and annulment.

“From the perspective of the church, a true marriage stays. Whereas divorce says that even if it was a true marriage you can dissolve it. The church has the process of the declaration of nullity. It means that the church through its courts and ministers, they want to see whether from the very beginning of the relationship probably there was not a marriage bind.”

Tagle also highlighted the importance of family during end of life conditions.

In 2016,  Canada has legalized doctor-assisted suicide, giving terminally ill adults the right to end their suffering.

But in the Philippines, Tagle says priests have never come across such situations because of the strong support system within the church and their families.

“In the moral tradition of the church, we have a process of discernment. When a sick person employs what we call extraordinary means to be alive and then there is really almost no chance of recovery. Then the church with pastoral accompaniment helps either the patient or the family to see whether maybe this is already the moment of natural death.”

Meantime, kababayans were deeply touched by the message of the cardinal on faith and family.

Cardinal Tagle conducted a workshop at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress over the weekend, and is on his way back to Manila.

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