A Church official said clerics appointed to Tagle’s new post as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, previously known as the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith or Propaganda Fide, always stayed in Rome “to advise the pope.”
Miguel De Guzman
Tagle named to key Vatican post
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - December 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle’s appointment by Pope Francis to a key Vatican office in charge of spreading the Catholic faith, he might have to step down as the Archbishop of Manila and leave the Philippines to take office in Rome.

A Church official said clerics appointed to Tagle’s new post as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, previously known as the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith or Propaganda Fide, always stayed in Rome “to advise the pope.”

“Historically, the prefect is based in the Vatican. The prefect has to be in Rome to advise the pope. Cardinal Tagle’s post is one of the top posts in the Vatican,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

The official added that oftentimes, those chosen as Prefects “have no other jobs in their respective countries.”

Former Philippine ambassador to Rome Henrietta De Villa said once Tagle assumes office in the Vatican, he can no longer be Archbishop of Manila as he will have to stay in Rome.

This would mark the end of the 62-year-old cardinal’s eight-year reign as pastor of the country’s capital city, including Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong and Pasay.

As prefect of the Propaganda Fide, he is also dubbed as the “Red Pope,” an allusion to a cardinal’s red cap and his almost absolute authority over mission territories for Catholicism.

Tagle is now one of the most powerful figures of the Catholic Church, being prefect of one of the nine congregations of the Vatican or the Roman Curia, recognized as the pope’s Cabinet.

The pope’s announcement came last Sunday, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, sparking speculations that Tagle might have to vacate his post as Archbishop of Manila.

According to Vatican News, Tagle is set to be installed in his new post in the Vatican at the beginning of 2020, taking over from Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who will now take the post as Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher in place of Cardinal Edwin Frederick O’Brien, who resigned last April when he turned 80 years old.

Filoni previously served as papal nuncio to the Philippines from Feb. 25, 2006 until June 9, 2007.

Filipino prince in Rome

The cardinal’s fellow pastors welcomed Tagle’s appointment, saying that having a Filipino cardinal in the Vatican was an “immense” blessing.

His auxiliary in Manila, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, was pleased with Tagle’s appointment, where he could bring his wisdom to the work of evangelization.

“That would be good. We have again a Filipino cardinal who is working in the Vatican. He can bring his wisdom to the work of evangelization. We will him success in this heavy responsibility and we pray for him,” Pabillo said.

“It is an immense blessing to our country, overflowing grace to His Eminence. His appointment shows the trust and confidence of His Holiness to our dear Cardinal Tagle. He makes us proud as Filipinos, and our country as beacon for new evangelization. For his appointment we glorify our God, we are grateful to His Holiness. And we give to His Eminence our collaboration and services,” Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos said.

Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Gabriele Giordano Caccia said in his message during Sunday’s mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception that he admired Tagle for opting to smile despite having to suffer leaving his country.

“The cardinal was smiling during his homily but I know that his heart is broken,” Caccia said.

But he said that even if these changes in assignment may be difficult, “we should say ‘yes’ because God knows better what is good.”

Tagle is the second Filipino to become prefect of a dicastery, following the late Cardinal Jose Tomas Sanchez, who served as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 1991 until 1996. Sanchez also served as secretary of the Propaganda Fide.

While serving as head of the Archdiocese of Manila, Tagle was also elected as president of Caritas Internationalis, whose headquarters is also located in the Vatican.

Sen. Richard Gordon congratulated Tagle on the appointment, which has likely increased his chances of being elected pope one day.

Gordon said Tagle’s appointment brings pride and joy to our country because it is another manifestation that the world recognizes the ability and talent of Filipinos. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

LUIS ANTONIO CARDINAL TAGLE
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