Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle Returns to Philippines After Consistory

Expresses Gratitude to Filipino People for Prayers and Support

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MANILA, NOV. 29, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Fresh from his elevation to the College of Cardinals during the consistory, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, Archbishop of Manila arrived back to the Philippines today.

The Cardinal was welcomed by Church officials, members of the clergy, friends and members of the media, together with officials of the Manila International Airport Authority.

In a press conference held at the airport terminal, the Cardinal thanked all the Filipinos who gave their support and offered prayers for him.

Cardinal Tagle recounted to members of the press the sentiments of Filipinos who said that they feel the grace of God for the Church and the Filipino faithful. "I attest that the grace and recognition is not just for me but for my family, for our archdiocese of Manila and for our Church in the Philippines," the cardinal said.

The Filipino prelate recalled as well the unforgettable experience in Rome when he celebrated mass for the Filipino community at the Basilica St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome.

"I thought the basilica will not be full but during the procession at the start of the mass, Cardinal Tagle said."I was in awe to see the basilica is full of Filipinos, particularly the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). We can see the striking faith in the hearts of our OFW’s for the Church and for our country."

Cardinal Tagle also took questions from the media regarding the proposed Reproductive Health (RH) Bill that has been a subject of much debate in the Philippines. The proposed legislation would allow for universal access to contraceptives, birth control and intrauterine devices (IUD). The bill would also enforce "sexual education" on children starting at the 5th grade level.

On the issue of the RH bill, Cardinal Tagle stated that he is also a Filipino bishop and the opinion of the bishops in the country is not different from his opinion on the issue.

Meanwhile, when asked about the upcoming elections, he reiterated that those who will be running must think about the interest of everybody, not just the candidate’s personal interest and the interest of a small group.

The newly created Cardinal also requested that the candidates pray and discern if the job or task of a public servant is for them, so that the motivation of running for public office is purified.

Cardinal Tagle will over several thanksgiving Masses next week for those who have supported and prayed for him.