Bzzzzz: Why is Archbishop Palma 'bypassed'? Or more relevantly, why does Cebu not have a cardinal yet?

·3 min read

POPE Francis Sunday (October 25) appointed 13 new cardinals. One of them is a Filipino, Capiz Archbishop Jose Advincula. He is the ninth from the Philippines, two of whom -- Ricardo Vidal and Julio Rosales -- were archbishops of Cebu.

Which raises the question: How about Jose Palma who heads the Archdiocese of Cebu? How about Cebu that has a cardinal for its past two archbishops?

WHY CEBU: WHY NOT? More precisely and relevantly, the Cebu Archdiocese should already have a cardinal, or at least ahead of other areas in the country.

[1] For almost four decades, Cebu had a cardinal as leader of the Catholic Church in this part of the country.

[2] Its past two archbishops were cardinals: Julio Rosales and Ricardo Vidal.

[3] Cebu was listed as the largest archdiocese in Asia, having 4.609 million baptized Catholics (2013 figures) and the biggest number of priests and seminarians.

[4] It has been a tradition that cardinals in the Philippines come from, or are assigned to, Cebu and Manila archdioceses.

EXPLANATIONS. Reasons that Cebu has been skipped over are being chatted about, They range from political to historical, from profane to divine:

* Vatican has its politics. Pope Francis has his priorities and uses the papal seats to advance his causes.

* There may be reason/s Archbishop Palma has not yet been picked and only Vatican insiders know.

* The local archdiocese has had a history, or tradition, of having a cardinal for its religious leader. But "God, through the pope, chooses the cardinal." Divine intervention is a component of history or tradition, or

so its advocates say.

38 YEARS UNDER A CARDINAL. The Cebu Archdiocese had a cardinal as its archbishop for 38 years, from 1969 to 1982, then from 1985 to 2010.

Julio Rosales, the second archbishop since the diocese of Cebu was elevated to metropolitan archdiocese on April 28, 1937, was appointed to head the Catholic Church in Cebu in 1949. Rosales became cardinal only in 1969.

Ricardo Vidal, who succeeded Rosales in 1982, became cardinal in 1985.

Jose Palma, the current local leader, assumed as archbishop in 2010.

CARDINAL-LESS GAPS. The gaps, when the Cebu archbishop was not a cardinal:

[1] The entire 12-year period of Gabriel Reyes's term from 1937 to 1949. Then Bishop Reyes, who headed the Cebu diocese since 1934, became the first archbishop when the diocese was elevated into an archdiocese in 1937. Reyes later headed the Archdiocese of Manila, its 28th archbishop; he died in 1952 without becoming a cardinal.

[2] Twenty years of Julio Rosales's term, from 1949 when he assumed as archbishop until 1969 when he was appointed cardinal. Rosales died in 1983 at 76.

[3] Three years of Ricardo Vidal's term, from 1982 when he took over as archbishop and 1985 when he was appointed cardinal. Vidal died in 2017 at 86.

Rosales led the Cebu Archdiocese for 20 years before becoming cardinal; Vidal, for three years. Palma has been there for 10 years since he succeeded Vidal and for three years now after Vidal's death. Palma is 70.

Which will come first: the Cebu archbishop becoming a cardinal or a cardinal being assigned to Cebu Archdiocese? Or will it happen at the same time?

There have been vacuums of "cardinal leadership" but two out of three Cebu archbishops in the past were cardinals.

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