MANILA – How many new Filipino bishops and archbishops did Pope Benedict XVI appoint in the past 8 years?
According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website, the pope named 9 Filipino archbishops and 22 bishops in nearly eight years as head of the Catholic Church.
Church records show that the pope’s first appointee was then Caceres Auxiliary Bishop José Rojas, Jr., in July 2005. He was later named bishop of Libmanan in May 2008.
Cagayan De Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, SJ, meanwhile, holds the record as the first archbishop to be appointed by the outgoing pontiff.
Although appointed as head of the Diocese of Nueva Segovia by Blessed John Paul II, Archbishop Ernesto Salgado was the first Filipino to receive the “pallium”, from Benedict XVI in June 2005.
Pallium is a liturgical insignia of the archbishop made of white wool, which symbolizes the office of archbishop, particularly their bond and shared responsibility with the pope to be pastors in their regions.
Other archbishops appointed under Benedict XVI’s leadership include Jose Palma of Cebu, Romulo Valles of Davao, Sergio Utleg of Tuguegarao, Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of Manila, Jose Advincula of Capiz, John Du of Palo and Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres.
Nueva Segovia Auxiliary Bishop William Antonio, the pope’s last appointee that was ordained to the episcopate, said he could not help but be thankful for the trust that the pontiff has given him.
Aside from Rojas and Antonio, the 20 other bishops that the pope appointed in order of seniority in ordination to the episcopate are:
- Jacinto Jose of Urdaneta
- Renato Mayugba of Laoag
- Roberto Mallari of San Jose, Nueva Ecija
- Marlo Peralta of Alaminos
- Jose Colin Bagaforo, Auxiliary of Cotabato
- George Rimando, Auxiliary of Davao
- Rodolfo Beltran of San Fernando, La Union
- Pablo Virgilio David, Auxiliary of San Fernando, Pampanga
- Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary of Manila
- Elenito Galido of Iligan
- Leopoldo Jaucian of Bangued
- Gilbert Garcera of Daet
- Francisco de Leon, Auxiliary of Antipolo
- Julius Tonel of Ipil
- Crispin Varquez of Borongan
- Gerardo Alminaza, Auxiliary of Jaro
- Joseph Nacua of Ilagan
- Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay
- Ruperto Santos of Balanga
- Jose Bantolo of Masbate
To date, the CBCP has 89 active and 39 honorary members assigned in 86 ecclesiastical territories.
Benedict XVI, 85, said last Monday that he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28, he will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. With a report from CBCPNews