At a time when many church leaders are seen as aloof, Magister also emphasized Tagle’s reputation for connecting with the Philippines’ millions of poor people.
“Especially striking is the style with which the bishop acts, living simply and mingling among the humblest people, with a great passion for mission and for charity,” Magister wrote.
Bookmakers rank Tagle as among the favorites going into the cardinals’ secret conclave in Rome. One popular Irish site has him at 16-1 odds. Nevertheless, other analysts also point out the momentous nature of electing the first pope from Asia, Africa or Latin America, arguing that another European pope is a safer bet.
In the Philippines, there has been nearly uniform support for Tagle since Benedict’s shock resignation announcement.
“If he becomes a pope, it will be a loss to us, but a gain to the Vatican and the Catholic world,” Ner said.