Pope Francis has appointed Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma as one of the members of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

According to an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) news website, the 69-year old Catholic prelate was among the eight new member-appointees to the office, most of whom are cardinals.

Palma is the only Asian among the appointees who are mostly Europeans.

While attending to his pastoral work in Cebu, He will also now work with the dicastery led by biblical scholar and Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.

The Council was established in 1982 by Pope John Paul II with the aim of establishing a dialogue between the Church and the cultures of modern times. It has its roots in the Second Vatican Council’s vision to address the challenges of unbelief and religious indifference in modern society.

Likewise, the Council touches on other important areas of society: science, arts, economy, and the value and care of the artistic and historic patrimony of the Church.

Meanwhile, Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson of the Cebu archdiocese expressed gratitude to the Vatican for choosing their head to be a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

“As the archdiocese is preparing to spearhead the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the first baptism in the country (which also allowed Christianity access into the mainstream Filipino culture) — all these come together coinciding with the archbishop’s (Palma) appointment as a reminder for all of us in the country not just to remember the honor conferred by history on our nation but also to highlight the responsibility entrusted upon all of us that we have been gifted in order to give,” the Catholic priest added.

Palma, a bishop for 21 years, has been serving Cebu, the country’s largest archdiocese, since 2011. (Ferdinand Patinio, PNA)

Top photo: Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma. (File photo courtesy of CBCP)