• Melo Acuna

PH's ninth cardinal skips consistory

Cardinal-designate Advincula cancels trip to Rome

MANILA – Capiz Archbishop Jose Fuerte Advincula, elevated to the position of cardinal last October 25,2020 opted to cancel his trip to Rome for the scheduled consistory on November 28 on account of the rising COVID-19 cases in Italy.

Speaking over Coffee Chat at Melo Acuna Reports, Fr. Emil Arbatin said the country’s ninth cardinal was supposed to leave Manila for Rome tonight but opted to cancel his trip for health and safety reasons.

Asked of other means to receive the zucchetto, Fr. Arbatin said they learned of other means for a new cardinal to receive the red hat from a fellow cardinal nearby, who could either be Maguindanao-based Cotabato Archbishop Emeritus Orlando Beltran Cardinal Quevedo or Lipa City-based Manila Archbishop Emeritus Gaudencio Borbon Cardinal Rosales.

The new cardinal may also receive his red hat from the Papal Nuncio to the Philippines but Archbishop Charles John Brown has not arrived in Manila.

The third option is for Cardinal Advincula to receive the red hat from the head of state, President Rodrigo Duterte, because the cardinal is also considered a diplomat.

“Knowing the Cardinal, he would opt for the simplest ceremonies, yung hindi makakaabala ng maraming tao which is most convenient for everyone,” said his spokesman.

He described the Archbishop of Capiz as a “silent worker” as he is passionate in establishing mission stations, Christian communities in far-flung or in cities, making the church closer to the people.

“Before he came in 2011, there were only 30 parishes, we now have close to 70 parishes and mission stations,” he said. He explained these Mission stations are manned secular priests. He claimed an average of three to five ordinandi a year.

He said Archbishop Advincula is open to “lending” priests to other areas in need of priests.

Fr. Arbatin said he has been assigned parish priests to St. Catherine of Alexandria along with three other priests who attend to three mission stations. He said there are 130 secular priests in the ecclesial province.

He said Archbishop Advincula, now 68-years old, believes what he’s doing in establishing mission stations is simply answering the Holy Father’s call for the Church to attend to people in the peripheries.

Fr. Arbatin said backing them up in their mission are the active members of the church-based Basic Christian Communities which at times are said have insurgents in their midst.

“In Capiz, we serve everybody, the members of the New People’s Army because they are also Catholics who need spiritual services. We also attend to policemen and soldiers, we cater to all of them,” he added. He explained Archbishop Advincula believes everyone should respect basic human rights.

“He also has a stand on social issues, as what he told the Vatican News the everyone should work together to ensure human dignity and the rights of the people are respected,” he added.

The cardinal-designate, his spokesperson said underscored the need to alleviate poverty in the countryside as “poverty brings social problems.” Fr. Arbatin said Archbishop Advincula believes Education would develop people to earn more and live decent lives and some mission stations have school facilities. (Melo M. Acuña)

Pope Francis (left) receives Archbishop Jose Fuerte Cardinal Advincula during the latter's ad limina visit to Rome last May 2-19. (Contributed Photo)

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