MANILA, Oct. 11, 2011— Pope Benedict XVI is expected to appoint soon the new head of Manila’s Roman Catholic Church.
Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said Tuesday that he expects the Vatican to name his successor before the year ends.
“It’s probably even before (November)… I think it’s before Christmas,” Rosales told the media.
Rosales, who just turned 79 years old last August 16, earlier hinted that he would retire later this year but did not give the exact day of his retirement.
The cardinal submitted his resignation in 2007 when he turned 75, the retirement age for bishops, but the Pope extended his term indefinitely.
“I’ve been looking forward to this (retirement) and it will be granted already,” he said
Asked of his greatest achievement, the cardinal cited his encounters with different people particularly the poor.
“I think it’s having been given the opportunity to get to know the poor more, the good hearted people, the generous people who continuously help the Church. I thank all of them,” Rosales said
Rosales made no further details on the matter and no name has yet cropped up as his possible successor.
Historically, the Manila archdiocese has engaged the national leadership in ways that the local churches have not paralleled in the past.
By virtue of its ecclesiastical position, the archdiocese is arguably the most influential local church in the Philippines.
For instance, observers said that until now, the Catholic hierarchy owes its influential status largely to former Manila Archbishop and the late Jaime Cardinal Sin.
Sin was an institution who commanded respect from his fellow church leaders and showed that priestly vocation should not be confined within the four walls of the church.
Observers said the next Manila archbishop faces a crucial role on various socio-political issues including the contentious issue on the reproductive health (RH) bill.
Rosales, for instance, has publicly criticized President Aquino for supporting the birth control measure but at the same time made moves to reduce tensions between the Church and the government. [Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews]