Vatican City, May 14, 2015 / 12:46 pm
Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila, is the new president of Caritas Internationalis. The general assembly of the umbrella organization of Catholic charities elected the Filipino cardinal with 91 votes out of 133.
"Thank you for your trust. I am limited in my capacities, but with all of you, with the love that Jesus has poured into our hearts and in the name of all the poor people in the world, I accept this election," said Cardinal Tagle, speaking May 14 on the phone to delegates from over 130 member organizations of Caritas Internationalis.
Cardinal Tagle will replace Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga as president of Caritas Internationalis. Cardinal Rodriguez, who offered his congratulations and warm support to the new president, stepped down after serving two terms.
Caritas Internationalis' general assembly (May 12-17) is outlining and designing the goals for the next quadriennal term during this general assembly, whose theme is "One human family, care for creation."
Cardinal Tagle will work in the framework of the guidelines provided by the general assembly, whogranted him a wide margin over the other candidate for the presidency, Maronite Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus.
Archbishop Soueif counted on the support of the European agencies, and – according to a source within Caritas Internationalis who spoke with CNA May 14 – he proposed a program based on the spirit of Caritas Internationalis's new statutes, issued via motu proprio in 2012.
Supporters of Archbishop Soueif noted that he is well aware of the difficult situation of Christians, as he comes from Lebanon, and administers Cyprus, an island divided in two parts with an ongoing persecution of Christians. At the same time, Archbishop Soueif – supporters said - also knows European issues, as he is also a member of the Commission of the Bishops of the European Union.
On the other hand, Cardinal Tagle's program zeroed in on advocacy for poor and the wish to reach out to the peripheries.
Fr. Edu Gariguez, Caritas Philippines' executive secretary, commented to CBPB News that Cardinal Tagle "has the qualities of a good leader for the organization" and recounted that the clamor for the cardinal to be nominated was led by Caritas Asia when the process started early this year.
The campaign mostly focused on the fact that Cardinal Tagle has played major roles in raising with the government various issues affecting the marginalized sector, and showed his effort in helping Filipino population, which is continuously stricken by an average of 20 typhoons per year.
Born in Manila in 1977 and ordained a priest in 1982, Cardinal Tagle was appointed bishop of Imus in 2001. In 2011, Benedict XVI appointed him Archbishop of Manila, and created him cardinal in Nov. 2012, during his last consistory.