03/12/2013, 00.00
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Card Tagle: theologian for the universal Church, pastor for millions of young Filipinos (A profile)

Card Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila, is the second youngest prelate at the conclave after the card Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal. A keen theologian, he is a member of the International Theological Commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Until 2003, he worked with then Card Joseph Ratzinger, who chaired the Commission at the time. As archbishop of Imus, he organised various initiatives for the young.

Manila (AsiaNews) - "This millennium is a millennium not only of ambiguities and uncertainties, but also of promise and hope-hope in the search for a new humanity, the search for a new way of being human and being a human family. So what do we do? Where do we turn? Where will our faith in Christ lead us?" asked Card Luis Antonio Tagle in the Introduction to Easter People: Living Community, whose Italian edition, Gente di Pasqua. La comunità cristiana, profezia di speranza, was released on 4 March at the start of the general congregations to elect Benedict XVI's successor.[1]  

Born on 21 June 1957 in Manila from a Filipino father and a Chinese mother, Card Luis Antonio Tagle, metropolitan archbishop of Manila, is the second youngest prelate called to elect Benedict XVI's successor. The first is the card. major archbishop in the Syro-Malankar Church. He was appointed to the College of Cardinals by the pope in the second to last consistory (24 November 2011) together with two other prelates from Asia, Bechara Rai from Lebanon, patriarch of the Maronite Church, and Cleemis Thottunkal from India, major archbishop in the Syro-Malankar Church.

Ordained as a priest on 27 February 1982 by the Bishop of Imus Felix Pérez Paz, he spent the first three years of his ministry as the vicar in Saint Augustin Parish in Mendez.

During this period, he was also spiritual director in the theological seminary of the Diocese of Imus where he eventually became the rector.

In 1985, Bishop Pérez Paz sent him to Catholic University of America in Washington to continue his university education in systematic theology. He followed up his undergraduate degree of 1987 with a doctorate summa cum laude in 1991 with a thesis under theologian Joseph Komonchak on the notion of Episcopal collegiality in the doctrine and practice of Paul VI.

Parish priest as Our Lady del Pilar Cathedral in 1998, he worked as the rector of the diocese's seminary until he was ordained archbishop in 2001. During this time, he distinguished himself for his close relationship with young people and his great theological acumen.

In 2009, he organised the fifth Asian Youth Day, which he described to AsiaNews as an opportunity to bring together a continent marked by diversity and tensions.

In 1997, John Paul II appointed him to the International Theological Commission, within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As a member of the Commission, which brings together the foremost theologians of the Catholic Church, he worked with its president, then Card Joseph Ratzinger, until 2003.

The prelate also sat on the editorial board of the Institute for Religious Studies in Bologna that published the History of Vatican II.

As preparations for the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Diocese of Imus were underway, Benedict XVI appointed him archbishop of Manila on 13 October 2011 in replacement of Card Gaudencio B. Rosales.

He entered the archdiocese on 12 December of that year on the tenth anniversary of his Episcopal ordination.


[1] Bishop Chito Tagle, Easter People - Living Community, New York: Orbis Books, 2005;

Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Gente di Pasqua, la comunità cristiana, profezia di speranza, Emi, 2013.


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“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”