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Tagle: Cultural intelligence needed to usher dialogue

CEBU, Philippines - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said the world needs cultural intelligence that would usher to unified dialogue.

Cardinal Tagle said intellectual quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) are no longer sufficient to battle the culture that is “shaking” due to religious conflict, natural disasters, and refugee crisis, among others.

“Cultural intelligence is the capacity to engage and facilitate dialogue. The Church needs cultural intelligence. If we want to dialogue with traditional and emerging cultures we need that. That is why dialogue is indispensable,” he said.

He cited three components of cultural intelligence: know your culture, study and know the culture of other people, and appreciate and learn from other cultures.

Culture, as defined by Tagle based on a classical and sociological meaning, is the forms of acting and thinking shared by a society which allows member of a group to survive while providing a sense of identity and belonging and giving meaning to their lives.

He said culture surrounds every aspect of human life in all length and breadth of the world, whether in a community, Church, home and even in language, food, body language, style and the like.

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“We see how important culture is and how no one could escape culture because it is the second nature to us,” he said.

He said cultural intelligence is also vital in understanding the gospel and ensuring human integrity, considering the pressing tension between the preservation of cultural identity and welcoming people from other cultures.

He stressed that the survival and identity of the society and individual members depend on the culture.

“When we dialogue with cultures, we look for the presence of Jesus in the person of the ministers, in the Eucharistic species, especially the presence of Jesus in the word, and in the praying community,” he said.

He reminded the faithful and the public in general not to easily condemn the values of other cultures that are perceived strange. These values, he said, may contain elements of the Christian vision but expressed in different ways.

However, he said people must not accept anything and learn to refuse in recognized values that enjoy widespread social acceptance but are “incompatible with Christian vision.” He said dialogue needs discernment.

He also underscored that the “mission” of the Church and the community is to “dialogue with culture and people.”

He said the emerging culture of the youth is something elders need to understand, saying that the best way is to engage the young people for them not to be afraid to explain to us what their culture is.

 “They should be able to talk to us about their culture, without fear,” he said.

The 51st IEC, for instance, is a platform providing dialogue for people living out in different cultures. The Eucharist, he said, also offers an experience of “culture of convocation.”

“Let us behold Jesus in the Eucharist. Let us allow Him to form in us, a community of neighbors, brothers and sisters. No more barriers. Only bridges,” he said.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma underscored that the congress highlights the Eucharist as dialogue with all, with culture, with the youth and the poor as well as a gathering of friends and fellow evangelizers.

On the spiritual side, Palma said the IEC is also an opportunity for priests to renew their own commitments to the priesthood. (FREEMAN)

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