Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman congratulated Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle for his appointment as cardinal bishop, the highest rank a cardinal can get.
“We greet His Eminence Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle for his appointment as a cardinal bishop,” said Harry Roque, spokesman of President Duterte.
“Your success, your Eminence, is the success of the whole Filipino people. Thank you for the honor and congratulations,” Roque added.
The palace statement came even as President Duterte has claimed earlier that Cardinal Tagle was “removed” as archbishop of the Archdiocese of Manila for meddling in politics.
On March 10, the president said Pope Francis “got angry” at the cardinal for his political statements.
The pontiff, however, has earlier named the Filipino prelate Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
On May 1, Pope Francis named Cardinal Tagle one of the 11 highest ranking cardinals in the Vatican. He is considered the youngest to hold the position at 62-years old.
The former archbishop of Manila is the first Filipino to become cardinal bishop, making him the highest-ranking Filipino bishop in almost 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines.
Cardinal bishops hold the highest rank in the College of Cardinals, followed by cardinal priests and cardinal deacons.
Cardinal bishops are “consulted by the pope anytime individually or as a group, with regards to any question in the Church,” according to the Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome.
Cardinal bishops also help the pope in coordinating with all of the world’s cardinals.
Cardinal bishops hold jurisdiction over a church in a suburb of Rome while working in departments of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the church.