'Despedida' for Tagle planned during 120th plenary meet

MANILA Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle as well as numerous issues concerning the local Catholic Church are set to get the spotlight when the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) gathers for their 120th Plenary Assembly from January 25 to January 27 at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Paco, Manila.

In an interview, CBCP secretary general Marvin Mejia said the three-day conference will be the final one for Tagle, who has been appointed as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

"We will have a farewell. A simple despedida for Cardinal Tagle," said Mejia.

Aside from having a simple gathering, the priest said Tagle will also open the plenary meet by presiding over the mass Saturday in lieu of the Apostolic Nuncio of the Philippines.

Mejia said the opening mass will be concelebrated by CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles and Vice President Bishop Pablo David.

After the mass, Valles and David, who have been reelected to their second terms, will lead the oathtaking by the new officers of the CBCP.

Mejia said the plenary conference is also set to focus on church matters, particularly in the Church's preparation for the forthcoming celebration of the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021.

He also said that the vote on the elevation of some local churches to a Minor Basilica or National Shrine is also part of the agenda of the assembly.

As for socio-political issues, Mejia said they have decided to exclude them in the agenda of the main assembly.

Instead, the CBCP official said they were included in the preliminary seminar for the bishops held last Thursday.

"Since we will run out of time due to the numerous church matters to be discussed, we decided to hold a seminar for bishops then," he said.

"The main objective of that was for information. So that the bishops will understand the issues," furthered Mejia.

Among the socio-political issues that were discussed were the Kaliwa Dam, suicide cases, and the mission in mainland China amid the novel coronavirus (nCoV) scare.

Also discussed were national security, war on drugs, and red tagging of church organizations.

Considered as the highest decision-making body of the CBCP, the Plenary Assembly meets only twice a year, in January and in July. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)