Philippine bishops welcome new papal envoy

Philippine bishops welcome new papal envoy

Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines. PHOTO FROM IRISH EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

By CBCP News

September 30, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The country’s Catholic bishops welcomed the appointment of Archbishop Charles John Brown as the new Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of Manila, assured Brown of the archdiocese’s support on his new mission.

“We are happy to welcome him and we pray that he will have fruitful work here in the country,” Pabillo told Radio Veritas.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said Brown’s appointment is “a welcome relief and comfort for us in this troubling time” of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We welcome our new Apostolic Nuncio with our obedience. We give our cooperation and avail ourselves for services,” he said.

For his part, Bishop Roberto Gaa of Novaliches noted the significance of the nuncio for the church in the Philippines.

“We are very thankful for having a new Nuncio to journey with us to receive guidance from the Pope,” he said.

Pope Francis on Monday appointed Brown as his new envoy to Asia’s most predominantly Christian nation.

The appointment comes as the country will mark next year the 500 years of Christian faith’s arrival in the country.

Nuncios represent the pope in the Church in a foreign country. His role is equivalent to that of an ambassador, representing the Holy See to the government of their host country.

They also play key roles in selecting and appointing new bishops as well as disciplining erring clergymen.

There are currently five vacant ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the country including Manila, Alaminos, Malaybalay, San Jose in Mindoro, and Taytay.

In many Catholic countries like the Philippines, the nuncio is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

Born in New York, Brown is the third American to head the Vatican’s diplomatic mission in the Philippines, after Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams who served the post from 2007 to 2011.

Turning 61 on Oct. 13, the archbishop has been the Apostolic Nuncio to Albania since March 2017.

In Manila, he succeeds Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, who Pope Francis appointed permanent observer to the United Nations in November 2019.

Before entering the diplomatic service, Brown had worked with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for around a decade.

He also represented the Holy See in Ireland for six years before moving to Albania.

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