MANILA - Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle was "tailor-made" for one of the Vatican's top congregations, an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Thursday.
Pope Francis earlier this month assigned Tagle as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the Vatican department responsible for the spread of the Catholic faith throughout the world through its missionary works and related activities.
Also called the “Red Pope,” the position is equivalent to that of the Cabinet secretary to the Roman Pontiff.
Tagle is a "great communicator, very humble, and has the intellectual capacity to proclaim the faith," according to Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP executive secretary of the public affairs committee.
"Maybe the Pope saw in Cardinal Tagle some things that can put the Church on the advantage in as far as spreading the faith is concerned," he told ANC's Early Edition.
"Cardinal Tagle has theology at the tip of his fingers. He makes it easier for people to understand the faith. He’s tailor-made for this position."
One of Tagle's challenges as the "Red Pope" will be to reconcile the Catholic faithful in China, where some 12 million Catholics have for decades been split between a government-run association, whose clergy were chosen by the atheist Communist Party, and an unofficial underground church loyal to the Vatican.
"It’s going to be a struggle for him just like his predecessors experienced, let’s just hope there’s going to be a chance for Cardinal Tagle to put peace and that these two factions can understand each other," Secillano said.
"Cardinal Tagle is a man of dialogue, I do believe that dialogue very important also in this issue."
Tagle, as prefect of one of the 9 congregations of the Roman Curia or the Pope's Cabinet, will be based in Rome once he assumes his post.
His successor as Manila archbishop should know how to listen to the concerns of his people, Secillano said.
"We don’t want him to just be imposing his own will. He has to be collaborative and has the ability to listen. He should be like some of his predecessors, shying away form politics but also trying to make the stand of the Church in political life very clear," he said.
--With a report from Agence France-Presse