[PHOTO -Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle: Cardinal-designate 'Chito' known in Philippines for theology, humility]

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said he and other Filipino prelates-Archbishop Jose Palma and Archbishop Romulo Valles-waited outside the Vatican synod hall after hearing the news that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle had been named cardinal.

"When I hugged him, he cried on my shoulders. Tears of joy but also tears of fear! Every grace is also a responsibility, he told me later. We pray with joy now. Let us pray for Cardinal Tagle on the months and years ahead. Rejoice dear Philippines! One of our sons is now a cardinal!" Villegas said in a statement released in Manila.

Clerics and lay leaders echoed the same joy and fear that Villegas expressed following the surprise announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that the 55-year-old Tagle would be elevated to cardinal at the consistory on Nov. 24 in the Vatican.

Tagle is scheduled to return to Manila on Nov. 1. He will celebrate Mass on Nov. 3 in Paco, Manila, to launch the "Year of Faith" in his archdiocese.

"We are like John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness," said Tagle in an interview with Vatican Radio yesterday, a day after Benedict's announcement that he had joined the ranks of cardinals.

"You're not even sure if people will give you a fair hearing," said Tagle, who has been described as a "golden child," a rising "star," and a potential papal contender.

"You may be saying the right things but people will not listen to you if the manner by which you communicate reminds them of a triumphalistic know-it-all type of institution," said Tagle, who became head of the Manila archdiocese upon the retirement a year ago of Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

[PHOTO -Archbishop Luis Tagle delivers his homily during his installation Mass inside the cathedral in Manila, Philippines, in December. (CNS/Manila Cathedral handout via Reuters/Noli Yamsuan)]

Terrified of task's magnitude

"I would like to thank the Holy Father for his trust and confidence not only in me but in the Church in Manila and in the Philippines. I take this not only as a gift but also as a call for the Church in the Philippines to take seriously our mission specially in Asia," he said.

"I am also consoled by the assurances of prayer and support from so many people. But I am terrified by the magnitude of the task at hand," Tagle said in his official statement issued from Rome, where he is attending the monthly synod of bishops on new evangelization.

"It requires a further broadening of the horizon, a careful study of worldwide developments in society and the Church and an intensification of the mission of the Archdiocese of Manila and the Church in the Philippines, even in different parts of the world, especially in Asia."

[PHOTO -Pope Benedict announced the names of six new cardinals. One of them is Archbishop Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle of Manila, known to all as 'Archbishop Chito'. Filipinos rarely use their proper names and it is possible to know someone for years without knowing his baptismal name, as I have discovered.]

God must love Filipinos

Henrietta de Villa, a former ambassador to the Vatican, said: "I'm ecstatic. God must really love the Filipinos. Only last Sunday, the gift of a new saint, St. Pedro Calungsod, an example of faithfulness and selfless love. Now, a new cardinal for the Philippines, one who follows the Lord, is humble of heart, and teaches with authority because he lives what he preaches."

"He will have a lot of time to prove himself," said retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz. "That's 20 years for him to be able to work and serve the Church. He is a very good theologian, very kind and holy."

Cruz noted Tagle's service under Benedict when the pontiff, as then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. He said it was possible that Tagle would be appointed to head that body, previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.

"That's a higher position," he said.

Activist "running priest" Fr. Robert Reyes, a classmate of Tagle at the Jesuit-run San Jose Seminary, said he knew the archbishop was going to "climb high in the ecclesiastical ladder."

Something extraordinary

"Not only was he very intelligent, he was also very humble and very generous," he said. "So we knew even then that there was something extraordinary here. The Church is looking for future leaders.

Whether he becomes Pope or not, the challenge for him is to remain humble and simple," he said. He recalled that Tagle had "always reminded us not to lose the connection with the poor."

While at the seminary, Tagle served as conductor of the choir under Jesuit Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros, considered the father of Catholic liturgical music in the country, Reyes said. "What we need in the Church now is a good conductor who will make everyone sing in tune because we have so many discordant voices in Church and society."

Activist priest Fr. Joe Dizon, convenor of Solidarity Philippines, said Tagle should use his office for his "prophetic witness" to denounce society's ills.

"The red hat of the cardinal symbolizes his readiness to shed his blood … for the Church, the Church of the Poor. It is expected that he would be a prophetic witness, denouncing evil, announcing good-as a cardinal of the Catholic Church," Dizon said.

The golden child

Writing in his blog, "Whispers in the Loggia," American Church analyst Rocco Palmo said Tagle could become "the star" of the consistory on Nov. 24 at the Vatican.

"Consistories are never about the past, but the future… and as each one tends to have its 'star,' it's a pretty obvious call that the coming intake will be decidedly Chito-centric," Palmo said, referring to Tagle's nickname.

"Named to his post a year ago last week, the singing, weeping, bike-riding and, YouTubing 55 year old-a member of the progressive-leaning 'Bologna school' team of Vatican II historians-clearly hasn't been dubbed the 'golden child' for nothing," he said.

Veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister noted in his blog that Tagle was named a cardinal even after a Vatican prelate criticised the chapter he wrote in the controversial "History of Vatican Council II" produced by the liberal "School of Bologna" group of scholars.

Magister noted that the curial archbishop Agostino Marchetto, in a book published by the Vatican, criticised Tagle's chapter as "a rich and even comprehensive study, but unbalanced," written in "journalistic language" and here and there "lacking the objectivity required of the true historian."

"Marchetto's criticisms nonetheless did not prevent Tagle, bishop of Imus since 2001, from becoming first, archbishop of Manila in 2011, and now cardinal," Magister wrote in his blog.

Most Rev. Luis Antonio G. Tagle, D.D., was installed the 32nd Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila on Dec. 12, 2011 at 9 a.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral). Archbishop Tagle, 54, succeeded Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales, 79, whose resignation was accepted by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on October 13, 2011. Archbishop Tagle was Bishop of Imus for 10 years. Archbishop Tagle was also ordained bishop on the same date ten years ago.

PH cyberworld erupts with joy over Tagle elevation Philippine Daily Inquirer 5:06 am | Thursday, October 25th, 2012 263 163

Filipino netizens took to various social networking sites on Wednesday to express happiness over the news that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle had been named as one of the Church’s new cardinals.

On Facebook, a page called “100% Katolikong Pinoy!,” which has over 153,400 likes, posted a photo of Tagle with the caption “Deo Gratias! We have a new Filipino Prince of the Church!”

The post was liked by over 880 people and was shared around 227 times less than an hour after the photo was posted.

“Thanks be to God. Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle is a wonderful warrior of Christ and the Catholic faith,” Amy Lee said.

Ariel Tampus wrote: “I am very proud of my theology professor. You deserve it, Bishop Chito. May this blessing give you more opportunities to serve God, His church and his people. We are always one with you in our prayers. Congrats and God bless!”

Others, like Louie Julian, speculated that Tagle might become Pope someday.

“I smell an Asian Pope,” Julian wrote, complete with a smiley face.

Carlito Santos said: “A new Saint—St. Pedro Calungsod; a new cardinal, Cardinal-elect Luis Antonio Tagle; all in the Year of Faith.” Schatzi Quodala and Bea Ponce, Inquirer Research

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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