Cardinal Tagle: The Philanthrope
He travels by bus and train, eats lunch with beggars and has very forthright things to say about abuse. Filipinos would love to see Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from Manila soon as Pope in Rome.
Since October, 2011, Luis Antonio Tagle is Archbishop of one of the large dioceses in the world, of the Archdiocese of Manila. This is a not only a religious, but also a politically influential post. Yet, you can still find the Cardinal traveling by bus. He is proud of not having a car of his own, as “it gives you the opportunity to escape the insulation that high management positions often bring along,” says Tagle. In reality, the communication talent Tagle, has no need to worry about isolation or aloofness.
From his diocese is reported, that he approaches people with an open and easy way of doing, has lunch with beggars and does not hesitate to visit the dark corners of the city Manila. Time after time, people are surprised that the person they are talking to is not just a simple priest, but the Archbishop himself.
Close to the people
In his lectures and sermons, the Cardinal often refers to his contact with the people, of which many videos can be found on the Internet. During his speeches, the audience is repeatedly moved to tears, and people are literally hanging on Bishop Tagle’s every word. But he admits, “to be also very emotional”. When Pope Benedict XVI. elevated him to the rank of Cardinal last November, he wept. It was a moment of joy, but at the same time of deep respect for the exceeding greatness of the new task, he told journalists.
Second youngest Cardinal
With his 55 years, Luis Antonio Tagle is the second-youngest in the College of Cardinals, and for many he appears even younger. When Josef Ratzinger presented Tagle to the then Pope John Paul II. as a new member of the international theological Commission in 1997, the very same is said to have humorously asked if Tagle had already received his first communion.
Tagle was born in Manila in June 1957, initially studied philosophy and later theology. He was ordained a priest in 1982. After working as a parish priest for a year, he became seminary dean at the seminary of Imus. From 1987 to 1991 he completed his doctoral studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with “summa cum laude”.
Both in his doctoral thesis and later he devoted himself to the Second Vatican Council. His critics accused him of a too progressive interpretation of the Council texts. In 2001, Pope John Paul II. appointed Bishop of Imus, and ten years later Luis Antonio Tagle became Archbishop of Manila.
In Tagles text and video messages, the “new evangelization” is always a major concern. For the young Cardinal, faith is not just a matter of religion. “It’s about believing in the people. If we believe in relationships and friendship, society can change,” the Archbishop is convinced. “It is important to seek for and find new forms of expression of faith.” “We as Church need to question ourselves,” the cardinal told in numerous YouTube videos: “Do we have borne witness to the gospel, do we scrutinize our laziness and our laxity?”
Clear words against abuse
Tagle finds clear words on the abuse cases in the Catholic Church. “You can not wipe the problems away or even under the table”. He wants to approach these issues as “Pastor” and try to heal, he stressed in numerous interviews. “It is the task of the Church, to be there for the victims like a mother.” It is a matter of uncovering the truth and ensure justice. The Church is a Church of sinners and for sinners alike. It is also our task to be there for the perpetrators. This comprehensive care for each and everyone is a very Asian way of approach, says Tagle.
Clear words, that make Tagle “extremely popular” in his home country, told the spokesman of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and continues: “We want a Filipino as Pope”.
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