FORMER Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle added another feather to his cap after Pope Francis appointed him as a member of the Vatican’s pontifical council for the promotion of interreligious dialogue.
Tagle was among five other cardinals, five archbishops and 11 bishops appointed to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) on Wednesday.
The PCID is responsible for promoting mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between Catholics and followers of other religious traditions; encouraging the study of religions; and promoting the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue.
This is Tagle’s third Vatican appointment since he relinquished his post as archbishop of Manila after being named by the Pope last December as Rome’s new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, a powerful Vatican office overseeing the church’s vast mission territories.
Barely five months after his appointment, the Pope, on May 1, 2020, elevated Tagle to the rank of “cardinal-bishop,” making the former Manila Archbishop among the highest ranked prelates within the College of Cardinals.
As head of the Vatican office overseeing the church’s vast “mission territories” or where non-Christians are the majority of the population, Tagle’s appointment did not come as a surprise to some Filipino bishops.
“As prefect of this Vatican congregation, he must be a member of the Pontifical Council on Religious Dialogue,” said retired Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.
Retired Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, former head of the bishops’ Commission on Interreligious Dialogue, also said Tagle’s new role sends a message to the Philippine church for the new evangelization.
“Since Cardinal Tagle comes from Asia, the birthplace of the world religions, and the Philippines is practically the only majority Christian country in Asia, this sends a message to us for the new evangelization,” he said.
When Tagle became cardinal in 2012, he was appointed member to at least 10 offices in the Vatican, including another Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerants, and the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum,” which is in charge of the pope’s charitable activities worldwide.
In 2015, Tagle was elected president of the Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) and also became head of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of global Catholic charities.