What do Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle have in common?

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.

Holy Angel University president Dr. Arlyn Villanueva and Benedictine Sister Josefina Nepomuceno, Board member put the academic robes and hood on Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during conferment of his honorary doctorate from the university in Angeles City, Pampanga Aug. 16, 2013. [N.J. Viehland Photos]

Holy Angel University president Dr. Arlyn Villanueva and Benedictine Sister Josefina Nepomuceno, Board member put the academic robes and hood on Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during conferment of his honorary doctorate from the university in Angeles City, Pampanga Aug. 16, 2013. [N.J. Viehland Photos]

The full citation for Cardinal Tagle read by De Jesus follows:  [Note:  unofficial copy – my transcript from recording]

Ex-DoTC Secretary Jose "Ping" de Jesus, member of Holy Angel University's Board of Trustees read a citation for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during the conferment of its honorary doctorate on the cardinal Aug. 16, 2013 in Angeles City, Pampanga. [NJ Viehland Photos]

Ex-DoTC Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus, member of Holy Angel University’s Board of Trustees read a citation for Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle during the conferment of its honorary doctorate on the cardinal Aug. 16, 2013 in Angeles City, Pampanga. [NJ Viehland Photos]


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.

WP cardinal Tagle tricycle By NJ Viehland copy

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.

Like Pope Francis, Cardinal Tagle has the meekness of Assisi but the sophistication of Loyola as well.

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.


Luis Antonio Tagle, Philippines’ seventh cardinal

By:  N. J. Viehland

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle receives an honorary doctorate from the Benedictine Fathers’ San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila in March 2012 / N J Viehland Photo

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle who will be officially made a cardinal in today’s consistory in Rome will become the seventh filipino Cardinal in the nearly five-hundred year history of Catholicism in the Philippines.  

Cardinal Tagle follows Cardinals Rufino Santos, Julio Rosales, Jaime Sin and Jose Sanchez, who have all passed away. Cardinals Ricardo Vidal and Gaudencio Rosales are both past 80 years old. Cardinal Rosales will be attending the consistory, Manila archdiocese’s communication officer reported.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle discusses with Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, his predecessor as archbishop of Manila in the sidelines of a plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines in Manila / Dave Viehland Photo published with permission.

Tagle will receive the red hat and the ring, symbols of his membership in the College of Cardinals, during the solemn consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica on November 24, 2012, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King. The three-cornered hat is said to be a symbol of a cardinal’s readiness to lay down his life for the gospel. It also signifies his rank in the Church that qualifies him to elect a pope.

In the College of Cardinals, “Every cardinal is a candidate” when election of a pope is required, Canon lawyer Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, who represents the Eastern Visayas region in the Permanent Council of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) told me in early November.

The Consistory will be held at 11 am (6 p.m. Manila time) and Catholic global television EWTN will broadcast the event.

Philippines’ newest cardinal

Manila-born Tagle, 55, completed his A.B. Philosophy studies at Jesuit-owned Ateneo de Manila University and San Jose Seminary for diocesan priests in 1973. He finished his M.A. studies in Theology at Loyola School of Theology and San Jose Seminary in 1982, the same year he was ordained a priest for Imus Diocese, in Cavite, northern Philippines.

He obtained his licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1987 and his doctorate in Sacred Theology from the same university in 1991.

Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of Imus in 2001, a post he served until his installation last December as Archbishop of Manila.

Tagle, whose ministry in the Philippines included serving as parish priest, seminary spiritual director, rector and episcopal vicar for Religious, also taught in various seminaries in his country.

He served as Facilitator for the CBCP National Ongoing Formation of Priests, and acted as consultant of its Episcopal Commission on Seminaries and Commission on the Doctrine of Faith, which he now chairs.

Beyond Church in the Philippines, he was member of the Editorial Board of Storia del Concilia Vaticano II, Instituto per le scienze religiose in Bologna, Italy, and was presenter and member of the drafting committee of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Plenary Assemblies VI and VII. He has since been elected to head the Office of Theological Concerns of that most authoritative body through which Asian bishops have spoken as a body. Tagle presently holds that post.

When he was ordained a bishop, Tagle was serving in the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. He has served various synods as council member and expert. As a priest in 1998, he was appointed as theologian expert for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia. He was also appointed member of the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in Vatican City.

He was serving in the Message Committee of the recent Synod on New Evangelization when Pope Benedict announced his elevation to cardinal on October 24, 2012 as the synod was winding down. Five others were also named cardinals to be created in an unusual second consistory in a year. These other new cardinals expected at tonights consistory are from America, Africa and Asia, including:

*Archbishop James Michael Harvey, Prefect of the Pontifical Household, who will be appointed Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

*His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Raï, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon)

* His Beatitude Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro- Malankara (India)

* Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria)

* Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia)

Pope Benedict in announcing the new cardinals said, “the Cardinals have the task of helping the Successor of Peter in the performance of his ministry of confirming the brethren in the faith, and that of being the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church.” He also asked for prayers “for the newly elected.

Philippine cardinals have performed the task described by the pope in a variety of roles.

Unlike the other Philippine cardinals, Sanchez who died at the age of 91 in the Philippines just last March served all of his active years as cardinal in the Roman curia.

Nuns of the Dominican Daughters of the Immaculate Mother community where Cardinal Jose Sanchez resided until his hospital confinement in March 3, 2012 cover his casket during the funeral Mass at the packed Good Shepherd Cathedral Shrine in Novaliches, Quezon City celebrated on March 12, 2012 by Filipino and foreign priests and bishops led by Cardinal Ricardo Vidal / N. J. Viehland Photo

In 1985 Pope John Paul II  appointed Sanchez  Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome three years after he was named archbishop of Nueva Segovia, Ilocos Sur 

Sanchez was elevated to cardinal in 1991 and was appointed prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See the same year. He held his position in the Congregation for the Clergy until he retired in 1996.

Catholics have organized thanksgiving Masses for their new cardinal in Imus on Dec. 3 and in Manila the next day. 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle [second from left] before concelebrating at the funeral Mass for Cardinal Jose Sanchez last March 2012 at Good Shepherd Cathedral in Novaliches with [left to right] Bishops Gilbert Garcera, Camilo Gregorio and Mylo Vergara / N J Viehland Photo

Who knows where Cardinal Tagle’s path will lead from here? Will he be sent down a similar path Sanchez traveled ? Will he be engaged for a longer time for the archdiocese in the way of his predecessors in Manila?


Welcome home, Cardinal-designate Tagle, Year of Faith launch

By N.J. Viehland

Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, now cardinal-designate led celebrations of Fr. Schwartz anniversary in Cavite in 2012. (N.J. Viehland Photo)

I expect a packed San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church in Paco, Manila on Saturday, Nov. 3. Manila archdiocese’s communication office has announced that Cardinal-designate Chito Tagle will lead a Mass there at 9 a.m. to launch Year of Faith in the archdiocese

The launch also serves as a welcome for the Manila Archbishop who returned from the Synod of Bishops in Rome where he served as vice-president of its Commission on the Message, and where Pope Benedict XVI named him one of six to become cardinals in a consistory on November 24, 2012, the announcement said.

Pope Benedict declared a Year of Faith beginning October 11, 2012, the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the release of the Catechism of the Catholic Church  and ending on November 24, 2013, the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Dances and other programs for the event are listed here