Pope Benedict XVI may name a Philippine bishop to succeed a Philippine cardinal who will turn 80 in February 2011.
The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA) cited sources in the Vatican who said the Pope’s appointment may replace Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.
“He might also assign a red hat to the Philippines, as one of its two cardinals – Cardinal Ricardo Vidal – will turn 80 in February 2011," the UCA said in an article on its Website. [Maybe, maybe not. More on this below.]
UCA added that Benedict XVI was also tipped to make as many as four other Asian cardinals at the next assembly of cardinals with the pope in October.
It said the Pope might also decide to appoint a cardinal from Pakistan to give encouragement to the Christian community there.
Among the most likely to be given red hats are Japan’s Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada, Sri Lanka’s Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, [my personal favorite.] India’s Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil, and Myanmar’s Archbishop Charles Maung Bo.
But UCA said the Pope has a major problem as there are far more candidates than available positions.
“If he abides by Pope Paul VI’s rule that the number of cardinal electors should not exceed 120, then he will have at most 20 positions to assign," the UCA said.
Asia currently has a total of 18 cardinals but only 10 of them are under the age of 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave to elect the next Pope.
Cebu is not the primatial see of the Philippines. Manila is. But both are considered cardinatial sees since their last two archbishops were cardinals.
Let me digress a bit...
I remember, a few years back, Senator Joker Arroyo plans to "petition" the Vatican to appoint more Filipino bishops as cardinals since he believes that Filipinos are not well represented in the Sacred College of Cardinals considering that the country only has 3 cardinals even if the Philippines is one of the biggest Catholic countries in the world, second only to Brazil.. You can read more of it here.
I know. Most Filipino politicians are downright dumb and stupid.
But my point here is this.
Some Filipino bishops are worthy to be given the red hat, but most are not. Historically, cardinatial appointments come from the importance of the see the appointee is occupying, or the curial position he is occupying.
So in the case of the Philippines, we have only two cardinatial sees, Manila and Cebu. The Pope can appoint another archbishop of a non-cardinatial see. He has the exclusive prerogative for this.
Are our present Filipino bishops worthy of the red hat?