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Tagle, Hungarian cardinal named as possible next pope

A London-based publication has named former Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Tagle as one of the leading candidates to succeed Pope Francis amid talks of his retirement due to his health condition.

According to Chino Gaston’s report on “24 Oras,” the Catholic Herald said that Tagle was considered a “papabile” or a likely candidate to be the Pope’s successor alongside Hungarian Cardinal Péter Erdo.

Both Tagle and  Erdo mirror the current challenges in the direction and policies of the Catholic Church in the future, the publication said. It further reported that Tagle is widely seen as a liberal, particularly in his position on issues related to the LGBTQ community, and on the representation of Catholics from developing countries.

Tagle is currently in the Vatican where he currently serves. He was known to be a close friend of Pope Francis, who appointed him to lead the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is careful in releasing statements on the report, explaining that any bishop or priest can be the next Pope.

“May kasabihan diyan tungkol sa conclave and I quote ano…'anyone who enters the conclave a pope, exits it a cardinal.' So meaning to say, kapag ikaw ay very popular na at kinikilalang kandidato bilang maging santo papa eh pagtatapos ng conclave, lalabas ka na cardinal ka pa rin dahil hindi ka nahalal. So it’s all up really to the voting members of the conclave,” Fr. Jerome Secillano, CBCP spokesperson, said.

(There’s a saying about the conclave and I quote ‘anyone who enters the conclave as a pope, exits it a cardinal’. Meaning to say, although you are popular and are considered a candidate to succeed the Pope, after the conclave you will exit as a cardinal because you were not elected. It’s really up to the voting members of the conclave.)

Talks of Pope Francis’ retirement surfaced after he said he might have to step down from his post due to his health condition. He was quick to clarify it, however, saying it will not happen in the immediate future.

The CBCP said assumptions about the Pope’s retirement should have not been made as it is only the Catholic Church leader who knows the state of his health.—Sundy Locus/LDF, GMA News