MANILA, Nov. 24, 2012— Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle received the red hat and ring, symbols of his membership in the College of Cardinals from Pope Benedict XVI during a solemn consistory held St. Peter’s Basilica on November 24.
The consistory which elevated six cardinals, including Tagle, reflected the universality of the Catholic Church because of the varied locations where the new cardinals came from.
In his homily during the consistory, the pope highlighted the catholicity of the Church, situating “within the context and the perspective of the Church’s unity and universality” the College of Cardinals as it “presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church.
“In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents.She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God,” the pope said.
The six new Cardinals hailed from six different countries in North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia: Archbishop James M. Harvey, Prefect of the Papal Household; His Beatitude, Bechara Boutros Raï, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch in Lebanon; His Beatitude, Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum in India and head of the Syro-Malankara Church; Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria; Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogotá, Colombia; and Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines.
The three-cornered hat bestowed on the cardinal is a symbol of a cardinal’s readiness |to lay down his life for the gospel,
at the same time signifying his rank in the Church that qualifies him to elect a pope. A Cardinal is also called a “Prince of the Church.”
Reminding the new cardinals of their fidelity to the Church, the pope said “today’s rite expresses the supreme value of fidelity. Indeed, the oath that you are about to take, venerable brothers, contains words filled with profound spiritual and ecclesial significance: “I promise and I swear, from now on and for as long as I live, to remain faithful to Christ and his Gospel, constantly obedient to the Holy Apostolic Roman Church”. And when you receive the red biretta, you will be reminded that it means “you must be ready to conduct yourselves with fortitude, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith, for the peace and well-being of the people of God”. Whereas the consignment of the ring is accompanied by the admonition: “Know that your love for the Church is strengthened by your love for the Prince of the Apostles”.
The new cardinals will also be assigned a “titular church” in Rome, formally making them members of the diocesan clergy of Rome.
The pope said “the titles and deaconries of the churches of Rome will remind you of the bond that joins you, as members by a very special title, to this Church of Rome, which presides in universal charity. Particularly through the work you do for the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, you will be my valued co-workers, first and foremost in my apostolic ministry for the fullness of catholicity, as Pastor of the whole flock of Christ and prime guarantor of its doctrine, discipline and morals.”
Tagle couldn’t hold back his tears when the pope bestowed on him the red biretta and the cardinal ring. Later, in an interview with romereports.com, Tagle said: “I cry easily, and I guess when you are before a great mystery that you know is beyond you, a calling, a grace, a mission, then, you know, you tremble, but at the same time you’re happy.”
At 55, Tagle is the second youngest cardinal of the Catholic Church after Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of India, who is 53 years old.
He is the seventh Filipino cardinal following Rufino Cardinal Santos, Julio Cardinal Rosales, Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Jose Cardinal Sanchez and Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales.
Today’s consistory brought the number of cardinal electors to 120? those under 80 years of age who are eligible to vote to elect a new pontiff.
Tagle was installed Archbishop of Manila on December 12, 2011 succeeding Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales. He was the bishop of Imus since December 12, 2001.
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.
During the recent synod on New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith, the pope appointed him vice president of the Synod’s Commission for the Message. (CBCPNews)