Cardinal Tagle emphasizes importance of interconnectedness, dialogue in the midst of COVID-19

“You are not alone.”

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

That is how Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle emphasized the importance of "interconnectedness" and “dialogue” in the midst of uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Tagle, who recently recovered from COVID-19, shared that he felt “fear and anxiety” when he was under isolation. The Vatican press had announced that Tagle had tested positive for COVID last September 11 and had already recovered 13 days after. 

“Your enemy will be the feeling that you are isolated, that you are a threat now, that you don’t even trust yourself, that you are a danger to yourself, could be a danger to others,” said Tagle during his keynote message at the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) Congress on Friday, Sept. 25. 

“Then you feel like baka nga better na lang to isolate yourself (Then you think that perhaps it is better for one to isolate yourself)w. The isolation also bothers you,” he added. 

It was during that difficult time when he realized the value of interconnectedness, said Tagle. 

“Getting out of the quarantine, I realized that really for you to survive--- you need a deep, deep sense of interconnectedness,” he said. 

“It is the sense that you are interconnected, you are connected to God, and then you are connected to the water, you are connected to the air… that will energize you,” he added. 

The Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples expressed his gratitude to people who prayed for him and assured him that he is not alone. 

“That’s why I could say that for the survival, even mentally of those who go through this crisis, this connectedness or what we call dialogue... dialogue is important,” said Tagle. 

“Your existence depends on a rediscovery of the reality that you are not alone, you are always connected and it is the working together of nature, of human beings, brothers and sisters, the earth, the seas, the rivers, and God that will make you whole,” he said. 

Pandemic requires general response

The prelate also noted that “dialogue” is also necessary to address the current health crisis, saying that it needs a “general and collaborative” response. 

“A pandemic requires a general response and it has to be done through dialogue,” said Tagle.

“I believe without the spirit and culture of dialogue, this pandemic will just get worse, not in terms only of contagion, but get worse in that sense that the worst in humanity is coming out rather than what is the best in all of us,” he added. 

“The COVID pandemic is asking from each one of us the best that is in you, and not to keep to yourself but to share it, that's the culture of dialogue,” he said.