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Filipino Cardinal Chito Tagle favored to succeed Pope Francis



Filipino Cardinal Chito Tagle favored to succeed Pope Francis


Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is being eyed as a potential successor of Pope Francis whose knee ailment that caused him to cancel some planned trips raised speculation that the Catholic pontiff would be retiring soon.

The name of the 65-year-old Vatican official from the Philippines has been bannered as one of the papabile (likely candidate to be elected pope) frontrunners in American magazine Newsweek after the trip cancellation and more recently by the European publication, The Catholic Herald.

The Catholic Herald’s “Erdő vs. Tagle: the battle to be the next Pope” published on August 5, 2022, identified two papabile cardinals from opposite persuasions: conservative canon law expert Cardinal Erdő of Hungary and the liberals’ bet, the Philippines’ Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.

The London-based news media said the choice between Erdő and Tagle would be a choice between conservative traditionalists and liberal progressives to direct the future of the church.

Tagle was seen as a progressive symbol for the changing demographic of the Church and if selected, would continue the liberal direction of Pope Francis.

Newsweek’s feature “Black or Asian Pope Tipped To Succeed Francis if He Resigns” was published on June 21 after Pope Francis canceled a planned trip in July to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan due to an ailment that forced the 85-year-old head of the Catholic church to use a wheelchair for a month.

The American feature said Tagle had a good chance to be elected the next pope, along with Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, another conservative.

The New York City-based magazine notes how Cardinal Tagle has received Pope Francis’ favor and has been referred to as the “Asian Francis” in Vatican media circles.

“Tagle, the former archbishop of Manila who was made a cardinal by Benedict XVI, is viewed as a top papal contender thanks to a series of promotions that make Francis’ esteem for him clear,” wrote Newsweek writer  Khaleda Rahman.

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Tagle of the Vatican

The former Manila Archbishop and Cavite Bishop from where he hails was brought by the Pope to the Vatican in 2019 to be the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the department in charge of the Catholic Church’s missionary activities worldwide.

Pope Francis afterward promoted Cardinal Tagle to the order of cardinal-bishops, the highest rank within the College of Cardinals which selects the next pope.

Tagle was also named a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Just last June, Tagle was given another appointment as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Cardinal Chito Tagle became cardinal in 2012. He started serving in 2015 as president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic charities around the world, a post that made the Filipino church leader the first Asian president of the umbrella organization of Catholic charities.

TELL US in the comments below what you think of the possibility that the next Pope will be Cardinal Chito Tagle of the Philippines.


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