Ad majorem dei gloriam, indeed! Pope Francis has appointed Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, as announced on December 8 by the Vatican. It is one of the nine congregations in what could be considered as the Pope’s “cabinet”—which means Cardinal Tagle has just become one of the top “executives” of the Catholic church!
He replaces Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who, according to the Vatican news, is the new Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. This comes after Cardinal Edwin Frederick, former Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, resigned in April this year after he turned 80.
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
Better known as Propaganda Fide, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples was established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. It is in charge of the church’s missionary works and other related activities that help spread the Catholic faith around the globe.
As of writing, it is still unclear if Cardinal Tagle will stay in the Philippines or move to Rome to manage the congregation—as members of the Roman Curia are commonly based in Italy. If he chooses to do the latter, the cardinal might need to leave his role as archbishop of Manila.
The New Prefect of the Propaganda Fide
Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, commonly known as Cardinal Tagle, is a graduate from the Ateneo De Manila University and got his doctorate in Theology in the United States. He was a former parish priest of the Imus Cathedral in Imus, Cavite, and was nominated bishop of the same diocese by Saint John Paul II in 2001.
He was appointed Archbishop of Manila in 2011 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and became a cardinal in 2012 during Benedict’s last consistory. Cardinal Tagle will be installed at the beginning of 2020, together with Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, S.J., the newly appointed Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy.
Cardinal Tagle’s appointment signifies the return of an Asian cardinal to head the Propaganda Fide. The last Asian cardinal to lead the congregation was Cardinal Ivan Dias of India, who was the prefect from 2006 to 2011.