In the year 2011, Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales was succeeded in the Archbishopric by Imus Bishop Antonio “Chito” Tagle, who was appointed as such by then-Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Tagle became a visible religious presence on television, particularly as co-presenter of ABS-CBN’s early-morning inspirational program “Kape’t Pandasal.” In 2012 Archbishop Tagle was made a Cardinal by the Pope. Then on December of last year Benedict’s own successor Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tagle as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. As a result Tagle, must step down as Archbishop of Manila, and speculation has since percolated on who would take his place.
According to Inquirer.net, the decision on who shall take up the post of Archbishop of Manila following Antonio Tagle being named to a position in the Vatican itself will ultimately be up to Pope Francis himself. This was stated in interview by Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who remarked that nobody in the Archdiocese knows who might be selected saying, “It’s really up to the Pope to decide who will it be.” Pabillo goes on to say that while several names have been put forth by speculators, guessing is a moot point and that the Pope’s choice could be surprising.
Even the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary-general Fr. Jerome Cecillano has no idea on who Cardinal Tagle’s replacement will be. He believes that the Pope will consult with his new CEP Prefect on which ranking clergyman in the country could take his place, before making his decision in what Cecillano describes to be a potentially “long and tedious” process. Fr. Cecillano also has his personal criteria on the sort of candidate would be a good Archbishop: one who is “both father and brother” to his priests”, communicator and doer” to the faithful, and a shepherd who can “crack the whip” when necessary.
Auxiliary Bishop Pabillo does note that a selection process for potential Archbishops for Manila will be studied and compiled by the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. Consultations in the country where the Papal appointment would be done are carried out through that nation’s Apostolic Nuncio, or Ambassador of the Holy See. “Positions in the Church are not promotions like in the secular world. They are modes of service,” explains Pabillo.
Image courtesy of Manila Bulletin