New “Red Pope” Appointed by Francis

Source: FSSPX News

A nomination of primary importance was made by Pope Francis: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle became prefect of one of the most important Vatican dicasteries. In the background: the reform of the Curia and the prospect of life “after-Francis.”

It was on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8, 2019, that the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, current Archbishop of Manila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, replacing the Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni, himself appointed Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher in place of Cardinal Edwin Frederick O’Brien, who resigned last April.

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is a key dicastery in the organization of the Roman Curia, to the point of claiming the nickname the “red pope” for its prefect. Indeed, since its foundation, which dates back to 1622, the former “Propaganda Fide” has a very wide field of competence and considerable financial resources.

Its prefect has jurisdiction over the territories where the ecclesiastical institutions are not numerous or important enough to justify the creation of a diocese, as well as over all the countries where the Christian presence—even important—is more recent. This jurisdiction includes Asia, except the Philippines, Africa, except Egypt and Tunisia, and Oceania, except Australia.

The Congregation also takes care of hard-to-reach territories of Canada and the United States such as Alaska, certain of the Antilles islands, and finally some regions of Europe such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro or Albania.

In other words, Cardinal Tagle’s appointment takes on a particular importance. Expressing his wishes for a Church of the Poor, the Archbishop of Manila is on the same wavelength as Pope Francis.

The new prefect of the Propaganda Fide, a staunch defender of collegiality on which he wrote a thesis, is one of the main representatives of the Bologna Institute for Religious Sciences or the “Bologna School.” This Institute calls for a constant excessive implementation of the Second Vatican Council, considered as a key moment in the evolution of the Church, and deemed irreversible.

The appointment of the new prefect comes at a time when the Italian press has revealed that the reform of the Curia should place the “Propaganda Fide” in the top place of the Curia dicasteries, even above the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: a way to realize a real solution of continuity with the traditional curial scheme.