By Tracy Cabrera
File photo of new apostolic nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Charles Brown as he is greeted at NAIA by Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Martin Andanar and Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. (Photo courtesy of PCOO)
MANILA — Despite misgivings about priests and at time the Catholic Church, President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his excitement over the prospect of working with the new apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, Archbishop Charles Brown, particularly on matters concerning migrant Filipinos and environmental issues.
The former Davao City mayor welcomed the 61-year-old papal nuncio when the archbishop went to Duterte’s residence in Malacañang Palace last Wednesday, December 14, to present his diplomatic papers—a protocol for all new ambassadors and foreign dignitaries assigned to a country to present themselves to the head of state.
The chief executive welcomed Brown with the new Japanese ambassador to the country Koshikawa Kazuhiko.
As papal nuncio, Archbishop Brown heads the Vatican’s’ diplomatic mission to the Philippines.
“I look forward to working closely with the Holy See to further advance our shared advocacies on migrant protection and climate action for the Philippines. These are issues which are a matter of uplifting human dignity and securing the lives of the most disadvantaged,” Duterte said.
The president also thanked Brown for his efforts to protect the dignity of human life, particularly the lives of Filipinos working overseas.
“There are an estimated 10 million Filipinos working overseas with close to 3,500 in Vatican City. The Holy See’s call for all countries to protect the dignity of human life, including migrants regardless of status, is much appreciated,” Duterte disclosed.
He likewise asked the archbishop to thank Pope Francis for his fight against global warming and environmental degradation and his support following storms destructive storms that hit the Philippines in November.
“We appreciate Pope Francis’ expression of solidarity and prayers for the Filipino people who were affected by Typhoon Ulysses … Please convey my most respective greetings to His Holiness Pope Francis,” he said.
For his part, Archbishop Brown thanked Duterte for his welcome and promised the Vatican’s support for Philippine projects for the poor.
“I thank the president for his warm welcome. I bring to the Philippines the joy and blessings of Pope Francis. Rest assured of his prayers and love, especially for the poor and the marginalized,” the Vatican official said.
he said he felt honored to be nuncio to the Philippines when the country celebrates its 500th anniversary as a Christian nation next year.
Last year Duterte said he saw no reason to celebrate the event, saying it heralded the ‘subjugation’ of the Philippines by Spanish colonizers.
Communications secretary Martin Andanar said Archbishop Brown’s presence would enrich Filipinos’ faith and dedication to the Catholic Church.
“We wish Archbishop Charles John Brown a productive and collaborative engagement not only with the Catholic community but also with the Philippine government in enriching the Filipino nation’s faith and its dedication to collectively prosper,” Andanar concluded. (UCA)