Church leaders in the Philippines welcomed the appointment of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as part of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.
Bishop Arturo Bastes, retired prelate of Sorsogon, said the Filipino cardinal’s appointment to the council was a “good choice” considering that he is Asian and a Filipino.
“Asia and the Far East are home to the major religions of the world. In the Philippines we have Muslims and Buddhists,” said Bishop Bastes.
Cardinal Tagle, who is also prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is in charge of bishops in “mission territories” where nonChristians are the majority.
Retired Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro said the appointment of Cardinal Tagle “sends a message to us for the new evangelization.”
He noted that the cardinal comes from Asia, “the birthplace of the world religions,” and the Philippines, “practically the only majority Christian country in Asia.”
Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Tagle as member of the Pontifical Council on Wednesday, July 8.
The council is the central office of the Church for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue. It is responsible for promoting mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between Catholics and followers of other religious traditions.
The office encourages the study of religions and promotes the formation of persons dedicated to dialogue.
The council is a dicastery of the Catholic Church created by Pope Paul VI on May 19, 1964, as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, and renamed by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988.
It was in December 2019 when Cardinal Tagle was appointed as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The former Manila archbishop left the Philippines in February to assume his new post.
On May 1, Pope Francis also elevated Cardinal Tagle as cardinal bishop, the highest rank within the College of Cardinals.
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