Philippines Has Special Role, Says Benedict XVI

For Task of Evangelization in the East

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MANILA, Philippines, APRIL 6, 2006 (Zenit.org).- In the context of the March 24 consistory, Benedict XVI stressed the role of the Philippines in the evangelization of the East.



This was a "personal message" of the Pope's that new Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, archbishop of Manila, wished to share with his faithful April 1.

His words resounded in the cathedral of Manila, on his return from Rome, during a thanksgiving Mass for his call to the cardinalate.

"I must share with you the Holy Father's personal message," the 73-year-old Philippine prelate revealed. "He said that 'the Philippines has a special role in the evangelization of the East.'"

The Pope "mentioned this twice in our [four] encounters during the consistory," Cardinal Rosales added.

The cardinal wondered if the Holy Father "was thinking of the thousands of Filipinos in various Asian countries living and working as missionaries," or "did he have in mind the Christian witnessing that Filipinos even here and abroad could give to our neighbors."

Looking for light

The archbishop of Manila then referred to the words Pope John Paul II spoke during his 1981 pilgrimage to the Far East, echoing those of Paul VI, whose example he followed, traveling to Asia.

The Philippine cardinal mentioned the "challenge … to make [of] our society true communities of believers, eliminating injustice and inequalities that deny anyone a dignified life."

"Asia is looking at us for light which we have already received in Christ," he concluded.

Three of the 15 cardinals elevated at the recent consistory are from Asia: Archbishops Rosales and Nicholas Cheong Jin-Suk of Seoul, South Korea, and Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong.