KRAKOW, Poland, July 29, 2016 – Speaking to close to 15,000 young people at the Tauron Arena in this city, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle noted how failure has become the greatest sin of modern times and how people’s self-worth is measured by success.
“Nowadays, everyone wants to be successful. Success is the goal of life. You need to be an achiever. And the more you achieve your self-worth goes higher… Everything is measured according to achievement, success,” said the prelate whose meditation on God’s mercy was preceded by testimonials from Scott and Annie Powell of Camp Wojtyla , Catholic youth keynote speaker Chris Stefanick, and Curtis Martin of Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).
“…(T)o be successful you don’t tolerate failure. The greatest sin of our time is to say, ‘I have failed.’ And it’s a no-no to say I cannot do it.”
The cardinal said this subconscious way of thinking is evident in the Church, sharing how he personally felt this as people became more supportive and verbally expressive of their admiration of him the higher he went up the so-called ecclesiastical ladder – from deacon to cardinal.
According to Tagle, the preoccupation with perceived success is reinforced further by the thinking that the individual is the ultimate master of his identity, destiny, and direction.
“We always convince ourselves[that] you can be what you want to be . And do it by yourself. If you allow others to help you, to guide you, you do not qualify as successful. In our libraries, you have a lot of books, self-help books. You can fix the faucet by yourself, you can construct your apartment by yourself. Everything, self-help,” he explained.
The rise of the modern “self-made” human being makes it harder for many people to open up themselves to others, including God.
“So I can be a self-made human being. And it is an insult to me to say [that] somebody made me who I am. So I protect myself, but I’m actually protecting my pride. I don’t need anyone… I deny my wounds, I deny my being lost. It is embarrassing, I will lose my dignity. So leave my alone, I will do it my way,” added the prelate, who currently heads Caritas Internationalis.
Tagle said: “That person will not allow anyone – even God – to touch his heart or her heart for it is an insult.”
Modern people, said the cardinal, are all victims of this “mistaken notion of human dignity, of human worth.”
Several young people were able to ask the cardinal some of their questions on mercy, happiness, among other themes.
Tagle also headed a concelebrated a Mass after the catechesis. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)