The Philippines’ new cardinal said protecting human rights is not optional for the Catholic Church.
“The Church has to see to it that the human dignity and the human rights of the people are respected,” said Cardinal-designate Jose Advincula of Capiz.
In an interview released by Vatican News early this week, the prelate said that everyone are called to commit to alleviate poverty.
“Poverty is one of the reasons why we have social problems,” said Archbishop Advincula.
“Education is the way to develop the people so that they can earn more in order to live a more decent life,” he said.
The 68-year old archbishop is among the 13 new cardinals from all over the world named by Pope Francis on Sunday, October 25.
Their appointment will be formalized at a consistory in the Vatican on November 28.
It will be the seventh consistory for the creation of new cardinals since Pope Francis was elected pontiff in 2013.
Archbishop Advincula will be the second Filipino named by the pontiff as cardinal after Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, the 81-year-old archbishop emeritus of Cotabato.
Coming from a lesser-known diocese, Cardinal Advincula admitted he was surprised by his appointment.
“This might be a way the Holy Father wants to convey to the people the presence of the Church in the peripheries,” he said.
He added that it might be also because he had been establishing mission stations and mission schools in far-flung areas.
The archbishop has been prelate of San Carlos for 10 years until his transfer to Capiz in 2011.
“I always thought that the Church has to be closer to the people, especially those that are in the peripheries,” he said.