Papabile Tagle heads to Rome for Pope Benedict XVI's last day in office
Tagle flew to Rome along with retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, a report of, radio dzBB's Carlo Mateo said.
Citing health reasons, Pope Benedict XVI will resign from his post effective February 28.
Vidal will not be part of the conclave that will select the next pope as he has already retired.
On the other hand, Tagle is part of the College of Cardinals that can select the new pope.
According to a report by Mariz Umali on GMA 7 news program “24 Oras”, a good-natured Tagle entertained well-wishers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 1 while waiting for his flight.
Though spare in his comments, the Filipino cardinal did ask for everyone's prayers.
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president and Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma urged Catholics to pray for guidance in selecting the new pope.
Tagle, one of the world's youngest cardinals, had earlier been tagged as a "papabile" a possible candidate to replace Pope Benedict XVI.
Vatican analyst John Allen said Tagle is touted as the "Great Asian Hope," seen as someone who could take over the Throne of Peter.
In a report of the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on February 22, Allen, quoting a Filipino commentator, wrote that Tagle has "a theologian's mind, a musician's soul and a pastor's heart."
At 55 years old, Tagle is three years younger than Pope John Paul II when he was elected as the head of the Catholic Church in 1978.
Allen said "a vote for Tagle would be tantamount to a vote for another long papacy, perhaps as much as 30 years."
Noting how Tagle looks even younger than his age, Allen wrote: "The story goes that in the mid-1990s, when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger introduced Tagle to Pope John Paul II as a new member of the Vatican's International Theological Commission, Ratzinger jokingly assured the pope that the youthful-seeming Filipino had, in fact, received his first Communion."
Allen also pointed out that Tagle was a gifted communicator, "making him a sought-after speaker and media personality" who could bring an entire stadium to tears.
Another Catholic news site, RomeReports, on February 19 described Tagle as "the most popular Cardinal on Facebook and his homilies are among the most searched for on YouTube."
In November last year, Tagle was elevated to the College of the Cardinals.
RomeReports noted that Tagle's mother, "who is originally from China, attended the consistory where he was made Cardinal."
Catholic News Service (CNS), another news site, cited how Tagle was known for his humility.
A report of CNS on February 25 noted that Tagle promised to remain humble when he was installed as Archbishop of Manila in 2011.
"I tell myself as though it were the Lord telling me, 'Chito, do not think you have become great because of your new position. Be great rather in being a beloved and loving disciple of the Lord,'" the news site quoted Tagle as saying.
In one synod or assembly of the clergy, Tagle said being humble means recognizing when the church does not have all the answers and must remain silent, the CNS report said.
It also quoted Tagle as saying "a church at home with silence will make the voiceless believe they are not alone." - VVP, GMA News