That’s the common thinking about a personal favorite of mine among the papabile: a man dubbed the “Great Asian Hope,” the very young (55) Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila.
John Allen has this overview of his life and work, and shares some great stories about him:
In the Imus diocese, Tagle was famous for not owning a car and taking the bus to work every day, describing it as a way to combat the isolation that sometimes comes with high office. He was also known for inviting beggars outside the cathedral to come in and eat with him. One woman was quoted describing a time she went looking for her blind, out-of-work, alcoholic husband, suspecting she might track him down in a local bar, only to find that he was lunching with the bishop.
Here’s another typical story. Not long after Tagle arrived in Imus, a small chapel located in a run-down neighborhood was waiting for a priest to say Mass at around 4 a.m. for a group mostly made up of day laborers. Eventually, a youngish cleric showed up on a cheap bicycle, wearing simple clothes and ready to start the Mass. An astonished member of the congregation realized it was the new bishop and apologized that they hadn’t prepared a better welcome. Tagle said it was no problem; he got word late the night before that the priest was sick and decided to say the Mass himself.
And John Thavis (whose blog should be required reading during the coming weeks) has some thoughts about him, too. Turns out, he’s a cryer (in a good way…)
Photo: CNS/Paul Haring