MANILA (24-Oct-2012) – Pope Benedict XVI has named Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle as the Catholic Church’s newest cardinal.
The pontiff elevated Tagle, head of the Philippines’ largest archdiocese, to the College of Cardinals along with 5 other archbishops from different countries.
During the general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI announced that he will hold a consistory on November 24 to formally elevate the six new cardinals.
“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 the principle and foundation of unity and communion of the Church,” the pope said.
Tagle will now be the country’s seventh cardinal joining the line of retired Archbishops Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, 80, of Manila and Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, 81, of Cebu.
Since 1970, those over 80 years old cardinals have not been counted as active. With Tagle’s appointment, the Philippines has a representative in case of a conclave.
Other Filipino cardinals who already passed away include Rufino Cardinal Santos, Julio Cardinal Rosales, Jaime Cardinal Sin and Jose Cardinal Sanchez.
At 55, Tagle will be the world’s youngest cardinal. The oldest living cardinal, following the death of Cardinal Mayer in 2010, is Ersilio Tonini, 98, the Archbishop Emeritus of Ravenna-Cervia.
Tagle along with other Filipino prelates are currently in Rome for the ongoing Synod of Bishops for New Evangelization.
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official in the Roman Catholic Church, ranking just below the Pope and appointed by him as a member of the College of Cardinals during a consistory.
The duties of the cardinals are to attend the meetings of the Sacred College and to make themselves available individually if the pope desires their counsel.
Cardinals also have additional duties either leading many of the church’s dioceses and archdioceses or running the Roman Curia.
The most important function of Cardinals in the Church is to elect the Roman Pontiff who usually comes from their rank.
Tagle has been serving as the 32nd archbishop of Manila only since last December, succeeding Rosales.
Born in Manila on June 21, 1957, Tagle took his Philosophy and Theology at the Ateneo De Manila University’s San Jose Major Seminary.
He was ordained to the priesthood on February 27, 1982, at the age of 25.
From 1985 to 1992, he was sent for further studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. where he earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology.
Since 1997, Tagle has been a member of the International Theological Commission of the Vatican. In 1998, he was as an expert at the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia that took place in Rome.
On December 12, 2001, he was ordained Bishop of Imus. Since then, he has been engaged in many activities. He travels throughout the country in answer to many invitations as a speaker.
At the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in 2005, he was elected member of the post-synodal Council and assistant to Cardinal Angelo Scola, general reporter of this Synod.
Tagle is currently the chairman of the Commission on Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. (RL/CBCPNews)