Philippine Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila (left) walks with Philippines’ apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, after his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on March 21. CNS photo Philippine Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila (left) walks with Philippines’ apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, after his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on March 21. CNS photo

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Manila Cardinal Luis Tagle told journalists that when he went before newly elected Pope Francis to pledge obedience, the pope told him he had “high hopes” for the Philippines.

At a news conference at Manila’s international airport on March 21, the cardinal said the pope also asked Filipinos “to deepen our faith, through our devotion to Our Lady and mission to the poor. Now, those three are already a whole programme, as it were, for the whole Church in the Philippines”.

Cardinal Tagle was one of the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel for the election of Pope Francis on March 13. He expressed gratitude for the “gift of a new pope” and for having had the opportunity to be in solidarity with him, in communion and prayer, regarding his mission.

“What he’s saying is go back to the roots,” said Cardinal Tagle. “Go back to Jesus Christ.”

The cardinal said he agreed with Pope Francis’ assessment that the Church is in danger of becoming a “mere non-governmental organisation”.

“It has always been a danger in the history of the Church, where – with good intention – you see the plight of people and you want to serve,” Cardinal Tagle said. “But the motivation of the Church for being of service is really the faith”. - CNS

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