As the Philippine government plans a replacement for its ambassador to the Holy See, Catholic bishops in the region reminded officials of the need to make a quality choice, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports.
Cristina Ponce-Enrile, the wife of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, is the candidate planned to replace Ambassador Leonida Vera, who recently resigned.
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Oscar V. Cruz said, “As a general criterion, the envoy should be acceptable to the Vatican because of professional qualities and more importantly, because of moral qualities.”
The Archbishop of Cagayan de Oro Antonio Ledesma, a former vice president of the Philippines bishops’ conference, said the envoy to the Vatican would establish the country’s relationship with the Holy See. Therefore, the appointee should be chosen with discretion and should be qualified as a representative of both the country and the Philippine Catholic Church.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines did not yet have an official stand on Enrile’s appointment because the conference had not yet been informed of the choice.
The bishops contacted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said they did not know enough about Enrile to offer a “qualified opinion.” Archbishop Cruz said he only knew that Enrile had received an award from the Pope.
The government has not announced its official choice. However, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita has announced that Enrile was “earmarked” for the post.