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How fortunate the Philippine Church is!

Forgive me for starting yet another thread, but I simply want to share my joy at the appointment of Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle to be Archbishop of Manila. "Chito," as he is everywhere known, was my student at Catholic University and completed his dissertation under my direction. He was one of the best students I had in over forty years of teaching, but as intelligent and diligent as he was, he was perhaps better known and loved by his professors and by his fellow students for the simplicity and holiness of his life. He could have become the best theologian in the Philippines, or even in all of Asia, if he had been given the opportunity, but in his country the demands for the kind of teaching and preaching that he can offer are so many that a man of his talents will never have much time for reading and writing. And then he was made a bishop, something he never sought, and had to be persuaded was a call from the Church that he really should not refuse. When that happened, I thought to myself, "Well, perhaps, some day he may be moved to Manila."He became more widely known because of the catechesis on the eucharist that he offered at the Eucharistic Congress in Montreal in 2009. You can hear and see it here. And he has been making use of YouTube to spread the word, as you can see illustrated by typing "Chito Tagle" into a search-engine.God bless him. The Church in the Philippines is very fortunate!

About the Author

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.



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Wonderful story. I recall him from this intervention at the 2005 synod, in which he (courageously, I thought) raised the issue of married priests, not necessarily lobbying for it but for a discussion growing out of his concern for the availability of the Eucharist:

Speaking at a press conference following a morning session of the synod, Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Imus, Philippines, offered a blunt illustration of the crisis."Let me make a confession here. And I know our canon lawyers will get mad," Tagle said. "The first Sunday after my ordination as a priest I said nine Masses and that is regular in the Philippines."Tagle did not say whether he supported the ordination of married men.Scola, who also attended the press conference, appeared to reaffirm the Vatican's long-standing opposition to the proposal, calling the priesthood a "gift" to the church. Addressing the shortage, he said, is a "very long journey" for the church.Scola, designated as the synod's official "relator," will summarize in a report for Benedict the issues raised during the three-week assembly.At times Scola also appeared to play down the extent of the shortage, focusing his comments on the significance of the Eucharist, the synod's official theme."The church is not a business that can determine in rigorous terms how many priests it needs," Scola said. "How can we say in absolute terms if there are enough or not enough priests?"Sitting one seat away from Scola, Tagle offered a rebuttal: "In the absence of the priest, there is no Eucharist. We should face squarely the issue of the shortage of priests."Tagle reported that in 40 of the 60 parishes he oversees, lay people regularly distribute Communion in the absence of priests -- a fact that he said diminishes the sacramental value of the Eucharist.

Thanks; We all need to hear of hopeful appointments. His concern for the poor as quoted in NCR was not a sentence but a long thought out, sincere exposition. Manila and the Philippines are blessed and who deserves a blessing more?

And yet, the Church is not a business, which simply makes up an apparent personnel shortfall by hiring more people. Sometimes, the obvious solution is the wrong solution, even though that may never become clear. But it can be very hard to defend a situation that looks simply indefensible, such as wearing out priests and having them mass-consecrate communion wafers.

Yep, it looks more and more like the new leadership of the Church will eventually come from the East.

Yep, it looks more and more like the new leadership of the Church will eventually come from the East.

More humility there, Ann. Over here, in the West, our scientists - and the laity who believe in them firmly and devoutly - have solved or are well on their way to solving All The Answers. Ecstasy is a pill.

Fr. Komonchak, thanks for reporting to us the "good news"---especially welcome on the heels of the news out of Kansas City.(P.S. And, at least as far as I'm concerned, there's no need to apologize for starting another thread. How else will we get a rich, dense, beautiful tapestry if not by weaving together many threads?)

Chito was at Catholic University and taking one of my courses as the demonstrations on the streets of Manila were bringing down the Marcos regime--peacefully. Chito was following events very closely, of course, and he regretted that he wasn't there to take part. The day after the revolution succeeded, I brought champagne into class and we all drank a toast of celebration. (I have no idea how many university-rules that may have broken.) And he was very pleased with our gesture.A few news reports have noted that Chito was associated with the five-volume History of Vatican II that has been the target of many critical comments lately. He wrote the chapter on "Black Week" (the last week of the third session of the Council, in 1964) that appeared in volume IV. It is good to know that such an association is not enough to make oneself entirely persona non grata in the Vatican. I suspect that it was his work on the International Theological Commission that impressed the present Pope.

Joe,congratulations on your role in the new Archbishop's theological formation. What was the precise subject of his dissertation?

Joe:Congratulations! I hope you go to the installation and swell with pride.

From Rocco's description he sounds like a bishop after my heart. One thing he said: I am disturbed when some people who do not even know me personally conclude that my being a bishop automatically makes me closer to God than they could ever be. My words are God's words, my desires are God's, my anger is God's, and my actions are God's. If I am not cautious, I might just believe it and start demanding the offerings of the best food and wine, money, car, house, adulation and submission.Tow thoughts on that:(1) Bishops in the US are not the object of so much mindless admiration, except among a small subset of the Catholic population; but it seems to me that many revel in it, surround themselves with people who look up to them in that unhealthy way, and ask for more of it as their due.(2) At my university, Professors Can Do No Wrong, and I am also disturbed whenever an incident reminds me of how sheltered I am, and how I risk getting used to it and taking it for granted. For example, just this week, after one class I left in a rush and accidentally "stole" the wireless microphone as I gathered my belongings and left the lecture room. The next day I received an email from someone in the technical services, who was worriedly trying to locate the missing microphone. I found it in my backpack, told him and returned it. He thanked me for my promptness and apologetically said: "You see, I was in a bit of a panic because, you understand, we need it for our classes." No complaint about my distraction and how much time others wasted because of it. What a privileged position I have! No one at work hardly ever complains about what I do or do not do. Meanwhile some friends in France have told me that I tend to take things for granted - I find it natural that things go my way; in a way, it's what I expect. I am afraid that my university is spoiling us profs. When I stop to think about it, it is disturbing. I am sure that that's a problem that few people can sympathize with, but it is nevertheless a problem. In my little world, I can see that being on top of the pecking order is not healthy.

Chito's dissertation was on Pope Paul VI's understanding of episcopal collegiality. Two or three collections of his talks on theology and spirituality have also been published, at least in the Philippines.

This is an appointment that we all can and should rejoice in.

With a bit of hesitation (only because I'm leery of anything seemingly good coming out of the Vatican), I think this episcopal appointment can only portend great good for Catholics in Manila. Chito is the kind of Catholic episcopal import we truly need in the USA right now.Was it Jimmy Mac who offered a quote on another thread that perhaps is appropriate here: Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.May your former student, Professor Komonchak, do both. God knows, the Church of Rome needs more bishops with his apparent common sense.

What a breath of fresh air, your former pupil is, and what a comfort to know that the Church is blessed with such a leader. Thanks for this thread, Fr. K. Cheers to you and Catholic U, too.

Is there a way to access his disertation online?Congrats - agree that his role on the ICT probably got him known in Rome but am happy to see a significant appointment go to someone who was not educated in Rome.

This is off topic, but I saw today on Amazon that you can get a Kindle copy of Aquinas' Summa Theologica for -- ta da -- 99 cents. I just checked and it's still listed like that.

Is that position is roughly equivalent to archbishop of Washington D.C.?It seems that Pope Benedict has a strong preference for giving positions to people that he knows personally and that he has grown to respect. That trumps ideology.

The dissertation can be ordered from the following site: On the Internet the Summa can be found in English at several places, including this one: All his works in Latin, along with a wonderful search-engine and bibliography, can be found at: Another helpful bibliographical source is at:

You can find a review of the dissertation by Francis Sullivan, S.J., at EPISCOPAL COLLEGIALITY AND VATICAN II: THE INFLUENCE OF PAUL VI. By Luis Antonio G. Tagle. Landa Monographs. Quezon City, Philippines: Loyola School of Theology, 2004. Pp. xxviii 362. $35; $25.And here is a summary of one of his books of lectures: is a paper on renewal in the Church in Asia: a tribute by a fellow priest:

JAK --Thanks for the references. I've used the CCEL internet version, but it's hard to find things in it. Back to my hardcover.

Claire -- Interesting point. Would that all B's choices were made like that. But even the upper levels of the Church's structure is so vast that he can't possibly get to know all of the players. He's really at the mercy of the local bishops and their recommendations. Vicious circle -- the company men recommend the company men who recommend the company man . . . It's company men all the way up.I wonder if some of a top management expert could help with that probem sometime. HOpefully the Pope's finally getting a computer of his own is a good sign -- unless he's like some of my old friends who just won't learn to use them.

Thanks, Fr, K.

This is another of your former doctoral students signing in, Fr. K. Thank you for your lovely blog entry on Chito: it is being forwarded a great deal among Filipinos on Facebook (which is where I found out about it). We do feel very fortunate and very blessed by of this appointment, and many people are eager to support Chito, who is widely respected and loved. For what it's worth, I share a brief presentation on Chito that I gave at a book-launching 8 years ago: Thanks again!

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