Andrea Gagliarducci’s weekly Monday Vatican column often has some interesting analysis and today’s is no exception. This time he writes about the election of Cardinal Tagle as president of Caritas Internationalis and the seeming tension between charity and truth.
I believe there is should be no tension between Charity or Truth, because in Reality with a capital “R” they are One, a Person, Jesus Christ. Charity with a small “c” that becomes uncoupled from Truth, or even “truth” can foster dependency, and create all kinds of problems of the kind of good intentions that pave the road to hell. By the same token, “truth” that is uncoupled from “Love” is likely not Truth at all, but a harsh human judgment that focuses on people as problems rather than as persons made in the image and likeness of God.
In the end, the Pope claimed that Caritas needs to be in communion with the Church – the “holy mother hierarchical Church”, a common expression of Pope Francis. These words seems to counter what Michel Roy, CI General Secretary, said in a May 12 press conference. Roy underscored that the new CI statutes “enable us to tell bishops that they have to provide charity, but that catechesis comes first.”
In the end, the knot is always the same: charity in truth, or truth in charity? Is charity or truth in the lead? These are the two poles of the debate. It is worth reporting this discussion because it isalso going on in the universal Churchin these terms: shouldthe peripheries take the lead over Rome, or should Rome provide doctrinal directives while at the same time upholding the principle of subsidiarity in regard to local churches and to their charitable organizations?
Discussions over curial reform focus on this question. Those who were pushing for a revolutionary reform must take into account the reality of the facts, that is, that the “media papacy” whose narrative they fostered does not exist. Meanwhile, the hidden Vatican helped the Pope to understand that a central coordinating body in the Church is useful and needed. The institution provides freedom and also a unity that could not be experienced if all the power was devolved to local churches.