MANILA, Oct. 14, 2011— The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has welcomed Friday the appointment of Imus Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle as the new archbishop of Manila.
Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, CBCP President, said that the Vatican has to go through the usual arduous task in selecting the next head of Manila’s Catholic Church.
Tagle’s appointment, he said, only means that he is the most qualified to hold what church observers described as the powerful position in the Catholic Church.
“The selection is a tedious process which include among other things the secret scrutiny made on the bishops, religious and lay people regarding his personal spirituality, his capacity to lead this prestigious archdiocese in the Philippines,” Odchimar said.
“At the end of it, Archbishop Tagle has been found to be the most capable among those contemplated for the position,” he said.
Tagle served as member of the International Theological Commission while it was still chaired by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI.
This only means, according to Odchimar, that the 54-year old archbishop-elect’s “face and voice are familiar in the Vatican.
Tagle, he said, is not only a deeply religious man but also recognized figure not just in the Philippines but also internationally as a theologian and as a speaker.
“He is a blessing to us Filipinos because we Catholics in the Philippines look to this prime archdiocese also for leadership,” said Odchimar.
Pope Benedict XVI yesterday night appointed Tagle as the 32nd archbishop of Manila, replacing retired Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who served the post for eight years.
In a statement, Tagle asked for prayers, saying that he would be able to do his tasks with God’s help.
“I face this heavy responsibility with much trepidation,” Tagle said. “Leaving the Diocese of Imus, my beloved home, at the threshold of its Golden Jubilee, is not easy. But faith in our gracious Lord and love of the Church give me strength.”
“I know that I would find much good will and zeal for my mission in the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Manila. In our openness to the Holy Spirit, we could render a joyful and robust witness to Jesus Christ, all for the glory of the Father and the good of the Church and of society, especially, especially of the poor,” he added.
Rosales, for his part, said he would live in a retirement home for priests in his native Lipa City, where he also served as archbishop from 1992 to 2003 and plans to write more books. [CBCPNews]