By Leslie Ann Aquino
Instead of speculating as to who would be the next Archbishop of Manila, a Catholic prelate asked the faithful to just pray for Pope Francis as he makes the most difficult task of choosing Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s successor.
“Pray for the Holy Father. The final responsibility rests on him, and to think that there are more than five thousand positions in the Church all over the world to be considered,” Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said in a statement.
“This is no easy task, so we all need to pray for the Holy Father in this service that he does for the Church,” he added.
To note, it was last December when the pontiff appointed Cardinal Tagle as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
According to the prelate positions in the Church are not by popularity, much less by so-called “padrino system.”
Positions in the Church, Pabillo said are also not promotions like in the secular world rather they are modes of service.
“The one who does service is the servant. The servant does not consider himself as entitled – to position, to recognition, to compensation. He just does what is asked of him and he is happy to oblige,” he said.
Pabillo explained that the Church has a “long and tedious” process of choosing bishops and appointing them to various positions.
On top of this process, he said is the Congregation on Bishops in Rome.
Bishop Pabillo said the process involves consultations in the countries concerned by the apostolic nunciatures.
These are equivalent to the embassies of the Holy See in many countries that have diplomatic relations with Rome, he said.
Consultation letters, Pabillo said are sent to people who would know the candidates or who could nominate other candidates for the intended position.
Certain bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters and lay leaders are sent these consultation forms, he said.
Pabillo said those consulted are bound under “pontifical secret” not to divulge the consultation letters and their responses to protect the good name of the candidates and the respondents alike.
“All the answers to these consultations are processed in the nunciature and then sent to the Congregation on Bishops in Rome which further analyzes and discerns on the results,” he said.
“These are then given to the Holy Father for his final choice,” Pabillo added.
The person chosen, he said is then informed and asked for his consent.
Pabillo said it is only then that a date is set for the public announcement.
Cardinal Tagle is expected to assume his post in the Vatican early this year.