MANILA — Pope Benedict XVI has named Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle as one of the “Synod Fathers” in an assembly of select priests from around the world at the Vatican next month.

According to a news release of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Tagle will be only one of two Asian priests during the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Oct. 7 to 28.

Tagle will be one of the 10 cardinals, one patriarch, 11 archbishops, eight bishops, and four priests, who will meet with the Pope.

The two Asians in the synod are Tagle and Mumbai Archbishop Oswald Gracias, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).

The Synod, established by Pope John Paul II in 1965, aims to “foster the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See.”

The Vatican website said a synod is a “religious meeting or assembly” where those called by the Pope can discuss important issues affecting the Catholic Church.

Established by Pope John Paul II in 1965, the synod of bishops aims to “foster the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See.”

The CBCP said the theme of the upcoming synod is “The Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

“The gathering will be guided by a working document, issued June 19, which is the result of more than a year worldwide consultation among church leaders,” the CBCP explained.

The working document states that new evangelization must provide “an adequate response to the signs of the times, to the needs of individuals and people of today and to the new sectors with their cultures through which we express our identity and the meaning of our lives.”

Archbishop Tagle

On Oct. 13 last year, Pope Benedict XVI named Tagle the new Manila archbishop, succeeding Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales who occupied the post for eight years, the CBCP said in a report last year.

The CBCP said Rosales submitted his resignation in 2007 when he turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for bishops, but the Pope extended his term indefinitely.

In October 2011, a report of CathNews quoted CNN Senior Vatican analyst John Allen Jr. as saying the Tagle was not only “a rising star in the Asian Church” but also a “papal contender.”

In his blog on the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on Oct. 21, Allen said “a striking number of people who know Tagle believe that this is a guy who, one day, could be pope.”

Tagle is currently not eligible to become pope because he is not yet a cardinal.

The pope, also known as the “Supreme Pontiff” or the Servant of the Servants of God, is elected from cardinals worldwide.

Tagle is known for not owning a car and for going to work by bus.

He is also known for inviting poor beggars to share a meal with him.

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