Angeles City, Pampanga – Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and Pope Francis are “two of a kind,” former DoTC Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus told the convocation of faculty and university officials at the conferment of Holy Angel University‘s honorary doctorate on Manila’s archbishop.The full citation for Cardinal Tagle read by De Jesus follows: [Note: unofficial copy – my transcript from recording]
When the student is ready, the teacher will come
What the Vatican and the Catholic Church needed at this point in history is precisely what the Vatican got – the person of Pope Francis , a humble pope, a fearless pope, a pope who knows how to communicate to his people. By the same token, the Archdiocese of Manila and the Philippine Church as a whole got exactly the kind of leader and pastor they needed, in the person of our honoree today. Also a humble cardinal, a fearless cardinal, a cardinal who knows how to use broadcast media and social media, and who uses the language that Manilenos and Filipinos would understand.
We can say that the pope and the cardinal are two of a kind. Both educated by the Jesuits, both leaders of the Church in the Third World, both charismatic and both known for their humility and simple ways.
The pope rides a taxi, the cardinal rides a pedicab.
His Holiness washes the feet of prisoners, His Eminence invites beggars to his refectory.
Indeed, they are both shepherd who smell like sheep. (pauses as audience laugh)
If indeed Pope Francis has started a revolution in the Church, then his strongest ally would be Cardinal Tagle. The power of their combined examples should compel all Catholics, particularly Filipino Catholics, both clergy and laity, to adopt a major paradigm shift in their personal lives and lifestyles.
His Eminence speaks softly, but carries a big stick against poverty, injustice, atheism, materialism and the Reproductive Health Bill.
He urges his fellow clergy to assume an attitude of humility, respectfulness and silence, but he will not hesitate to raise his voice against the systems and conditions that cause suffering and violate the dignity and sanctity of human life.
The media savvy communicator does not consider an early morning tv show, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter beneath his exalted position. To him, these are tools that bring the Gospel of Christ to the youth, the members of the Church who will ensure its survival and shape its future.
His Eminence certainly knows and shows the way how to match the magnetism of Protestant evangelicals and resist the temptation of an increasingly secular culture.
Their mission is to disturb the rich and the powerful, and to create a mess in the diocese, to set the world on fire, to bring not peace on earth, but the sword.
This is the time of Pope Francis, this is the time of Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as well.