By Katie Ascough - 12 September, 2020
On Friday 11 September, the Holy See Press Office confirmed that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has tested positive with Covid-19. “Cardinal Tagle actually tested positive for Covid-19 with a pharyngeal swab carried out yesterday on his arrival in Manila,” said a brief statement by Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office.
According to Vatican News, the Philippine Cardinal who is Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples as well as President of Caritas Internationalis, the federation of Catholic charities worldwide, has become the first head of a Vatican dicastery to contract the Covid-19 virus.
Responding to journalists, Mr Bruni said the Cardinal “does not have any symptoms and will remain in mandatory self-quarantine in the Philippines, where he is located. In the meantime, necessary checks are being carried out among those who have come into contact with His Eminence in recent days.” According to Mr Bruni, Cardinal Tagle also underwent a swab test in Rome on 7 September, which turned out negative.
Earlier this week, the 63-year old cardinal led an online recollection on Covid-19, during which he criticised those who take advantage of the pandemic to make money. He was participating in “Kaunting Pahinga (A Little Rest)”, a recollection on the Covid-19 pandemic organised by Caritas Philippines and the Dilaab Foundation.
“As many people are suffering and getting poorer,” he said, “there are some businesses and probably individuals who are taking advantage of the situation … And they know how to capitalise on the sorrow and the needs of others for their profitability.”
Cardinal Tagle expressed hope that, through faith in Jesus, the pandemic would lead people to “a lifestyle of compassion and solidarity”. The head of Caritas Internationalis pointed out that the global health crisis has increased the demand for assistance from Caritas by more than one-hundred per cent.
“No one should be left alone. This gives hope to many people,” Cardinal Tagle added.