MANILA – Many Filipinos are praying that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle becomes the first Filipino pope.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis, however, said cardinals in the Vatican or in Rome have the advantage in the search for the next pope.
There are approximately 60 cardinals who are members of the Vatican Congregation. They are the insiders while Tagle is an outsider of the Vatican circle, he said.
"May advantage yung cardinals na assigned sa Rome. Ang Pope kasi, may cabinet members. May mga congregations na mostly ang heads niyan ay mga cardinals. May advantage sila because when you're assigned in Rome or the Vatican office, you have the perspective of what is happening in the whole world,” he said.
Asis, a canon lawyer, said these insiders are in the so-called office.
"For example, you are assigned to a certain congregation, alam mo na lahat ng stuation throughout the world. Unlike sa isang cardinal na assigned, for example, sa isang diocese lang kagaya ni Cardinal Tagle," he said.
Normally, candidates also give respect to more senior cardinals when they vote, he said. Asis noted that Tagle is just six months into his cardinalship.
Still, the fact remains that all 117 cardinals are all possible candidates, he added.
He said that before the conclave, cardinals have their spiritual preparations. These are not necessarily intense retreats, but they have to have days of prayers and individual prayers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in selecting the next pope.