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Prelate prays another Filipino will make it to Vatican conclave

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—A senior Catholic prelate is hoping the Vatican will promote a Filipino archbishop to the cardinalate because the Philippines is now without a representative in the Catholic conclave for the first time since the 1960s.

Former Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, the country’s only representative in the conclave, lost his seat when he turned 80 years old last week.

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Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said he expected Pope Benedict XVI to consider two Filipino bishops for the cardinalate. The last consistory was held in February 2012.

Cruz said Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who succeeded Rosales and former Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, respectively, could be headed for the cardinalate next year. Palma is currently the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

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“At least for the moment we can expect two cardinals in the meeting, the Cardinal Archbishop of Cebu and the Cardinal Archbishop of Manila,” Cruz said. “In principle, the successor of a cardinal in an archdiocese also becomes a cardinal in due time,” he added.

At present, Rosales and Vidal are the only two living Filipino cardinals.

However, they are now ineligible to join the conclave, which elects a new Pope in case of a vacancy, due to a rule made by Pope Paul VI in 1970 which ends the participation of cardinals once they reach the age of 80.

Rosales turned 80 on Aug. 10. Vidal is 81. Another Filipino cardinal, Jose Cardinal Sanchez, died last March. Sanchez had served as prefect emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy.

With Rosales turning 80 last week, the Philippines, the largest Catholic country in Asia, lost its representative in the College of Cardinals, which advises the Pope and chooses a new Pope in case there is a vacancy.

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Catholicism is the dominant religion in the Philippines, with an estimated 63 million followers. The country has produced six cardinals. The first Filipino cardinal was Archbishop Rufino Cardinal Santos of the Archdiocese of Manila. He was made cardinal in 1960. He died in 1973.

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TAGS: Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, CBCP, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Filipino archbishop, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, Roman Catholic, Vatican
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