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Pope Francis gives Cardinal Tagle highest title for a cardinal in the Catholic Church

Pope Francis promoted Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, former archbishop of Manila, to the rank of cardinal bishop, the highest title of a cardinal in the Catholic Church.

The Vatican announcement on Friday, May 1, said the pope “decided to co-opt in the Order of Bishops” Cardinal Tagle, awarding him the title of a “suburbicarian Church.”

A “suburbicarian church” is a church located in the vicinity of Rome with a cardinal bishop as titular prelate.

Cardinal Tagle, 62, joins the ranks of 13 other cardinal bishops — 10 of them are from the Latin Church and three cardinal patriarchs from the Oriental Rites.



The College of Cardinals is structured in three ranks: cardinal deacons, cardinal priests, and cardinal bishops.

Cardinal bishops hold jurisdiction over a church in a suburb of Rome, while working in departments of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the church.

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Cardinal deacons, often called “the pope’s cabinet,” also work full time in the curia, while cardinal priests are those working in dioceses all over the world.

It is from the ranks of cardinal bishops that the Dean of College of Cardinals is elected. The Dean presides at the conclave in the case of sede vacante, a period when there is no pope.

There are customarily six cardinal bishops from the Latin Church until Pope Francis broke the tradition and appointed more of them.

Cardinal bishops are assigned the titles of the seven “suburbicarian” dioceses.

Cardinal Tagle, who is Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, has been awarded the title for the Church of Saint Felix of Cantalice at Centocelle.

It has been his titular church since Nov. 24, 2012.

The Filipino cardinal celebrated Mass in the church with members of the Italian-Filipino communities on March 10, 2013, before he attended the 2013 papal conclave.

The church, which is located in the Centocelle quarter in Rome, is administered by the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin since 1928.

It was given papal endorsement on April 30, 1969, when Pope Paul VI made it a titular church for cardinals and blessed its fresco on the Feast of the Solemnity of the Mother of God.

Cardinal Tagle left the Archdiocese of Manila on Feb. 9 to assume his post at the Vatican as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, also known as Propaganda Fide.

The assignment is an important position in the Vatican as it takes care of the mission in territories mostly in Asia and Africa.

The congregation was established nearly 400 years ago in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV with the task of ensuring the “transmission and dissemination of the faith throughout the whole world.”

As head of the office, Cardinal Tagle will oversee the work of most dioceses in Asia, Africa and Oceania, in which one third of the Catholic Church’s 4,000 dioceses are found.

Cardinal Tagle is also president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations operating in over 200 countries and territories.

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