Pope Francis names new administrator of Manila Archdiocese

Bishop Broderick Pabillo to fill void left by Cardinal Tagle's transfer to the Vatican to take up high-level post
Pope Francis names new administrator of Manila Archdiocese

Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo has been named apostolic administrator of Manila Archdiocese. (Photo: Angie de Silva)

Pope Francis has appointed a new administrator of Manila Archdiocese following the departure on Feb. 9 of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle to assume a new post at the Vatican.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila and a vocal critic of the Philippines' "war on drugs," has been named apostolic administrator of the archdiocese.

"He will be mentioned in all Masses at the Eucharistic Prayer," read an advisory from the archdiocese.

The Vatican usually appoints an apostolic administrator to temporarily head a diocese when it becomes vacant.

Bishop Pabillo, 64, has served as auxiliary bishop of Manila since May 2006. He was ordained a priest of the Salesians of Saint John Bosco by Cardinal Jaime Sin on Dec. 8, 1982.

The bishop has criticized President Rodrigo Duterte on several occasions. In 2018, Bishop Pabillo called Duterte's remarks labelling God "stupid" as "blasphemous."  He also accused the president of making "irresponsible statements" when Duterte said he was wishing death on bishops whom he called useless.

In 2017, Bishop Pabillo rejected an invitation from the police for priests to observe anti-drug operations, saying it was "propaganda."

Cardinal Tagle left for the Vatican on Feb. 9 to assume the leadership of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, better known as Propaganda Fide.

With his departure, Manila Archdiocese is considered "sede vacante" or without a bishop.

In a farewell message, the cardinal called on Filipino Catholics to pray "for docility to the Holy Spirit as we continue our life as an archdiocese and await the next archbishop."

He assured Filipinos of his prayers as he asked Catholics to also pray for his new mission. "I will always treasure my time with you. You can count on my prayers. Please pray for me and my mission as well," he said.

The cardinal is expected to immediately start work on his arrival at the Vatican. "Work starts for me this week at the congregation," he said.

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