MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle will lend a Filipino flavor to a historic Vatican meeting on the family in October.
Pope Francis on Friday, February 21, named the 56-year-old Filipino prelate as one of the 3 presidents of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Pastoral Challenges of the Family, according to Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi.
Francis also named Cardinals André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France, and Raymundo Damasceno Assis, archbishop of Aparecida, Brazil as presidents along with Tagle.
The 3 presidents “represent 3 different continents,” the Vatican said in a statement.
The synod will take place from October 5 to 19.
The Vatican defines the Synod of Bishops as an assembly of bishops that helps the Pope “in the governing of the universal Church by rendering their counsel.”
In a synod, a president-delegate “presides over the assembly in the name and by the authority” of the Pope, according to the Synodal Information published by the Vatican.
His functions include the following:
“to guide the workings of the Synod according to the faculties entrusted to him in the letter of delegation, following the agenda and observing the procedural norms set down in this Ordo;
“to assign to certain Members, when deemed opportune, particular tasks, so that the Assembly might better proceed with its work;
“to sign the Acts of the Assembly. If there are several President-Delegates, all sign the Acts concluding the Assembly.”
This appointment thrusts Tagle, once considered a papal contender, in the limelight. The synod, after all, is seen as a landmark of Francis’ papacy.
During this meeting, bishops will tackle problems faced by the modern family. The Vatican has been preparing for this since October 2013.
In a rare move, in fact, the Vatican sent out a questionnaire to Catholics worldwide to guide the bishops during the synod. The questions covered issues such as contraception, gay union, and divorce.
In the Philippines, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines heeded the Vatican’s request to survey parishioners.
Tagle is now in the Vatican for a gathering of cardinals called the consistory.
On Saturday, February 22, he will also witness the elevation of another Filipino, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, to the College of Cardinals. – Rappler.com