Pope Francis has named Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to a major global Vatican post in a move likely to increase the Filipino’s chances of one day being elected pope himself.
The Vatican said on Dec. 8 that Cardinal Tagle will move to Rome to become prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also known as Propaganda Fide.
The congregation oversees the Church’s work in most of the dioceses in Africa, Asia and Oceania, which is around one-third of the world’s 4,000 dioceses, Vatican News reported.
Cardinal Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, succeeds Cardinal Filoni who has become grand master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. Cardinal Filoni was made the prefect of Propaganda Fide in 2011.
Cardinal Tagle is only the second Asian to be the prefect of Propaganda Fide, with the other being Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias who served from 2006 to 2011, reported Vatican News.
Cardinal Tagle was ordained a priest in 1982 for the Imus Diocese which he was made bishop of in 2001 at the age of 44. He was given the cardinal’s hat in late 2012.
Cardinal Tagle is also president of Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Biblical Federation.
CBCP News Service said that Cardinal Tagle is the second Filipino to become prefect of a dicastery, following the late Cardinal Jose Tomas Sanchez, who was prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy 1991-1996.
The 62-year-old is popular at home and around the Catholic world, has been mentioned in the past as a potential candidate for the papacy, including in the conclave that elected Pope Francis in 2013.
By moving him to the Vatican, the pope gives Cardinal Tagle the opportunity to gain familiarity within the Church’s central administration, which would round out his credentials as a potential contender for the papacy. He also sees eye-to-eye with Pope Francis on social issues from poverty to immigration.