Poverty Among Synod’s Concerns

Cardinals Tagle and Assis talk before morning session of synod

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila said the Synod of Bishops on the Family was more than a series of discussions on divorce and same-sex unions and that the impact of poverty on families, especially in Asia, was a major concern of participants. “Poverty is really affecting the Filipino family in a dramatic way,” Cardinal Tagle told reporters on Oct. 30. While he was in Italy, a number of contract workers from the Philippines approached him in tears. Cardinal Tagle said one worker told him, “If it weren’t for hardship, I would never have left my wife and children behind.” More than nine million Filipinos, about 10 percent of the population of the Philippines, live overseas and about half of these migrated for work. Cardinal Tagle said such migration was a major concern in synod discussions. “Couples separate not because they’re mad at each other,” the cardinal said. “They separate because they love their family and they bear the pain of separation just to find jobs elsewhere. So we ask, ‘What kind of pastoral care can we give for the [contract] workers to remain faithful to their families...and what can we do for those left behind?’”

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