Tagle singing at a concert, 2012.
To the recent reports from other sources that Cardinal Müller has already offered his resignation from CDF, Rorate can now add, from its own very well-placed sources, that there is a plan at the highest levels to replace Müller as Prefect of CDF with no less than the Asian "Pope Francis", the man seen by many as Francis' dauphin, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Müller, appointed Prefect in July 2012, has been effectively marginalized in the past years over the Family Synods and most importantly over Amoris Laetitia. Questions about his future in the Roman Curia have been persistent through the years. It remains to be seen whether he will eventually be sent back to Germany to take the still-vacant see of Mainz (traditionally a red-hat see), or be tossed to a ceremonial position, or whether, like Stanisław Cardinal Ryłko last year, he will simply be retired long before turning 75.
Tagle's own theological oeuvre is very thin and his academic reputation rests mainly on the essays he wrote as part of the Bologna School's History of Vatican II. It is his slick promotion by the mainstream Catholic media, his reliably progressivist views (couched in "moderate" language) coupled with his stint at the International Theological Commission and the patronage he received from Joseph Ratzinger, first as CDF Prefect then as Pope, that have combined to give him an aura of learning far beyond what is supported by his real output. His election as President of both the Catholic Biblical Federation (in 2014) and Caritas International (in 2015) and his designation as one of three Delegate Presidents of the Extraordinary Synod of 2014 further guaranteed his prominence in the universal Church.
Should this latest plan come to pass, Cardinal Tagle, who will turn 60 in June, will have an enviable "CV" for a conclave frontrunner: a long stint (more than 15 years and counting) as diocesan bishop then archbishop, followed by a stint as head of a Curial dicastery.
In the two previous Februaries Don Pio Pace wrote for Rorate long articles on the growing Tagle candidacy for the next conclave, articles worth reading now more than ever:
Exclusive Op-Ed: Pio Pace: "Conclave Preparations: Watch Out - Great Editorial Manoeuvres Signal Cardinal Tagle" (Feb. 2016)