SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Days after the papacy of Pope Benedict has ended, lawmakers are hoping that Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who is second among the youngest cardinals, will have an equal chance to be elected as the next pope.
Rep. Ma. Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley) said the citizenry should remain hopeful that Cardinal Tagle will be blessed with the privilege of succeeding Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
"If he is chosen, he will be the first Asian, and indeed, the first Filipino to succeed to Peter's throne, and it will affirm our country's standing as the bastion of Catholicism," Zamora said.
However, whoever succeeds the Pontifex, whether he is from Philippine shores or not, will have the Filipinos' support as the leader of the Catholic faith, Zamora added.
"We send our prayers for the Pope and his successor, and we look forward to the future leadership of the Catholic Church," Zamora said.
Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) said although Cardinal Tagle is new as a Cardinal, he always believes that God works in mysterious ways.
"His election will have a tremendous impact not just to the Roman Catholic Church but to the entire Christendom. If that will happen, he will be the first Pope to come from a developing country," Castelo said.
Incidentally, the Philippines is the second largest Catholic country after Brazil, Castelo added.
Castelo said his election will also mean a longer papacy and less conservative Church making it genuinely universal.
"This would mean that the Church will be less Europe-centered," Castelo said.
However, Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela) expressed her apprehension on Cardinal Tagle being elected to succeed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
Ilagan said as a Catholic living in a changing world beset by modern day problems, she would like to have a Pope who can shepherd the flock through these perilous and challenging times. He should also bring in the fresh winds of change while being strong like the rock of St. Peter.
"Does Cardinal Tagle have these qualities? Can he steer the Catholic Church towards reform and pay special attention to the Third world who are oppressed by First world countries? Can he bring the Church to an honest confession of its sins and make amends? If he can, I will be interested," Ilagan stressed.