Philippine papal bet wants people power for Church
MANILA (AFP) - Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle wants to bring the Catholic Church closer to people, a vision his fans say comes from a genuine passion for helping the poor and one that could make him Asia's first pope.
The 55-year-old cardinal from a working-class family close to the Philippine capital is being touted at home and abroad as a genuine chance to succeed Pope Benedict XVI during a historic Vatican vote next month.
Tagle has a reputation across the devoutly Catholic Philippines as a humble man with a lifelong commitment to helping the poor, while senior Church figures regard him as a moderate progressive who balances conservative doctrines.
Tagle, the archbishop of Manila who was appointed a cardinal in November, has refused to discuss his chances for the papacy since Benedict announced he would resign on February 28 due to poor health.