The appointment of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples last December was welcomed as a providential sign and an honoring gesture to the 500 years of Catholicism in the Philippines to be celebrated in 2021.
Commenting this latest nomination, the Rome correspondent Christopher Lamb wrote in the The Tablet, an international catholic magazine, that “the Pope’s choice of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to lead the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is a bold decision aimed at solidifying his legacy of putting the Church into a permanent state of mission, with eyes firmly set on the East.”
Indeed, selecting Cardinal “Chito,” as he is popularly known, to lead one of the most important dicasteries in the Roman Curia, the Pope signals his determination in pursuing the reform of the Church that he kick started since he was elected in 2013.
With a doctorate in theology on the evolution of episcopal collegiality since Vatican II and well known internationally for his service at the helm of Caritas Internationalis since 2014, Tagle is well poised to lead the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, formerly known as Propaganda Fides, in these challenging times for the Church.
At the Vatican, Cardinal Tagle will be in charge of the missionary dicastery par excellence responsible for evangelization and episcopal nominations in mission lands of Africa, Asia and South America, where Catholicism is growing swiftly.
A reorganization plan of the Roman Curia is being prepared by Pope Francis and his Council of Cardinal advisers. The new blueprint that will be announced next year sets the dicasteries at the service of evangelization with Cardinal Tagle’s department having a leading role.
The Filipino Cardinal will be in Rome residing at the Vatican. His name has been circulating for a few years as “papabile” and with this new post he will join in the restricted club of the Pope’s advisers.
Considered by many as the “golden boy” of the Church, the Archbishop of Manila will enter the next Conclave as a strong candidate to succeed the actual Pope. But this we leave it up to the Holy Spirit.
I do share the opinion of many that the Pope’s choice of Cardinal Tagle has been providential and honors the Filipino Church in a special way. On the other hand, it adds up responsibility to this Catholic nation of being the bearer of faith in the Asian continent. Definitely, the Philippines is a country with a mission.