12/09/2019, 15.42
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With Card Tagle, "the face and soul" of the Filipino Church enters the Curia

The archbishop of Manila is the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. “As Filipinos, we are happy to contribute to the glory of the Church through the task given to our beloved cardinal,” said Mgr Mangalinao. For PIME Missionary, “the pontiff’s choice is providential and inspired".

Manila (AsiaNews) – The appointment of Card Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle as new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples "will bring the face and soul of Filipino Catholics into the heart of the universal Church, to serve her according to the will of the Holy Father,” said Mgr Jose Elmer Imas Mangalinao.

The 59-year-old bishop of Bayombong spoke to AsiaNews following Pope Francis’s announcement yesterday that the Archbishop of Manila would be the third Asian to occupy the post of prefect of the dicastery formerly known as Propaganda Fide. The other two were Card Grégoire-Pierre XV Agagianian (1958-1970) from Armenia and Card Ivan Dias (2006-2011) from India.

Card Tagle’s immediate predecessor (2011-2019), Card Fernando Filoni, was appointed Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (OESSH). The Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples is responsible for missionary and related activities, leading and coordinating evangelisation. It is in charge of episcopal appointments in mission lands and for many functions normally exercised by other dicasteries.

“The Church is preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021,” Mgr Mangalinao. “One of its main themes spurs us to be ‘proclaimers of the Gospel around the world, boosting our missionary spirit.’ As Filipinos, we are happy to contribute to the Church’s glory through the task given to our beloved cardinal.”

“I have closely worked with him for a long time. I am sure that even in the Vatican he will display his main qualities: first of all, the humility of whole-heartedly accepting everything that comes from the Lord.” The cardinal’s “modesty is the means by which God allows one to reach one's neighbour; at the same time, it is one of the Pope's most brilliant features. Secondly, Card Tagle will be able to commit himself totally to guard and preserve pietas. Finally, his great intelligence will make him a valued advisor to the Pope.”

In light of the Pope’s call for a new evangelisation, Card Tagle’s appointment confirms that the Filipino Church is "on the right track". For Mgr Mangalinao, “We are guided by the Holy Spirit and Holy Father’s choice proves it. But we must never forget that what we do as a Bishops’ Conference, clergy and faithful is to the honour and glory of the Lord. Joy, commitment and courage must continue to enlighten our service to the Church in the name of Christ.”

For Father Sebastiano D’Ambra, missionary with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and current executive secretary of the Commission for interreligious dialogue of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the pontiff’s choice is “providential and inspired. Card Tagle is loved and respected by everyone.”

At this time, “His appointment has been reported in national newspapers and Catholic social media. I think Pope Francis, also thanks to his latest apostolic journeys, wanted to send a signal to the Church and the world that Catholic Asia exists and is ready to meet the challenges of today's world.

"Interestingly enough, the cardinal’s family is also of Chinese origin. Several other things make Card Tagle a hope for the Asian and universal Churches. His appointment to such an important task will ensure that the latter will pay greater attention to the Orient.”

“The Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and Indigenous Peoples opened on 4 December for Filipino Catholics. This will lead them into the important celebrations of 2021. Card Tagle will highlight the history of evangelisation in this country and the social conflicts that still exist (especially here on the island of Mindanao).

“This,” in turn, “will encourage the Filipino Church to be responsible – called, on the one hand, to renew Christianity and, on the other, to be even more missionary, bringing the Gospel’s message to the world. For this task, we can count on more than 13 million Filipinos abroad.”

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