The appointment of Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila to a top post in the Vatican has offered hope to church leaders in Asia that the challenges they face will be given more attention.
Pope Francis has named Cardinal Tagle, 62, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, popularly known by its old name, Propaganda Fide, on Dec. 8.
The Manila prelate’s appointment will place him on top of evangelization and episcopal nominations in mission lands, especially countries in Asia and Africa.
He will be the second Asian cardinal to head the influential Vatican office after Cardinal Ivan Dias from India, who led Propaganda Fide from 2006 to 2011.
An independent global review of Open Doors estimates that 245 million Christians around the world suffer from religious persecution this year, up from 215 million in 2018.
Out of the 245 million persecuted Christians, 145 million are in Asia, with India entering the top 10 countries for the first time where religious persecution is high.
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