'Asian Francis' lights up World Meeting of Families

Spending all week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the World Meeting of Families, I've seen very little coverage of Pope Francis' visits to Washington, D.C., and New York. But I saw a pretty good substitute Thursday afternoon. 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has often been called the "Asian Francis," and after his keynote address, I can see why. Like the pope, he was charismatic, profound yet funny, focused first of all on the wounded and suffering, and totally compelling. 

His talk was entitled "The Family: A Home for the Wounded Heart," and it was spiritually and theologically rich while also being very practical and pastoral. 

"All people are wounded," he said. "There are different types of wounds, some physical, some spiritual, some emotional, some relational, some financial." 

Jesus Christ is "the wounded one" whose ministry is healing. "He does not save us from our vulnerability and woundedness," the cardinal said. "He saves us in our wounds and vulnerability. He entered our woundedness." 

The church is called to share in Christ's healing ministry. "You are not there to alienate further; you are there to heal, to unite and to reconcile," he said, and he gave practical suggestions for doing so. 

It was a powerful speech from a very impressive man. Here's his "speaker bio" from the World Meeting of Families website: 

"Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is the Archbishop of Manila, Philippines. He has a doctorate in sacred theology from Catholic University of America and was a member of the International Theological Commission (1997-2002). He is an elected member of the Permanent Council of the Synod of Bishops and an appointed member of six dicasteries in the Vatican, including the Pontifical Council on the Family. He is a well-sought speaker for local and international conferences and is very visible on social media. He maintains a weekly TV show and his Facebook page has more than half a million followers." 

He's also just 58. At the last conclave, though he'd only been a cardinal a few months, he was talked about as a papabile, one who could possibly be elected pope. After seeing him Thursday, I'll go out on a limb and say that I would be somewhat surprised (and disappointed) if Cardinal Tagle does not become pope one day.

(CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

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