The Most Popular Cardinal on Facebook

He's the most popular Cardinal on Facebook and his homilies are among the most searched for on YouTube. His name is Luis Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila (Philippines). He was born back in 1957 in that very city and at 55 years old, he's the second youngest in the College of Cardinals. His mother, who is originally from China, attended the consistory where he was made Cardinal. 

He said at the ceremony of the consistory: “It's a grace. Some of the cardinals approach me, and they told me that their parents no longer here so it's a real blessing that my parents are both healthy and my brother is here too and many many relatives to witness this event.”

Cadinal Tagle was ordained a priest at the age of 24. In 1991 he received this doctorate in Theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington. Ten years later he was appointed Bishop of Imus and then in 2011, Bishop of Manila. Tagle is a theologian in Ratzinger's mold, with a twist. He has been serving on the International Theological Commission, part of Ratzinger's former Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, since 1997. Having studied in the U.S., Tagle also speaks and writes in English, a necessity for any pope-to-be? He raised the issue of the shortage of priests at the 2005 synod of Asian bishops (code for a reconsideration of celibacy) and he is an outspoken advocate of the poor. He's also from a country that has suffered two rounds of colonialism (Spain and the United States), which give him a different theological voice, even if he's speaking in the "standard" European and North American theological categories.

He's a great communicator (in the mold of John Paul II) and his Facebook page has more than 118,000 'Likes' and he also has a YouTube channel.  Cardinal Tagle also enjoys a wonderful reputation in his home Country the Philippines.

His consistory back in November got plenty of attention, after Tagle couldn't hold back his tears as he received his red biretta and ring from the Pope: “I cry easily and I guess when you are before a great mystery that you know is beyond you, a calling, a grace, a mission. Then you know tremble but at the same time you're happy. For me, tears just come naturally.”

It's hard to find anyone who says anything bad about this Cardinal: He takes the bus, eschews clerical privilege, rides a cheap bike, and exudes simplicity, humility, and down-to-earthiness. If the College of Cardinals were to choose him as the next bishop of Rome, they would be making a choice for change indeed.

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